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THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/howiescapednovelOOpark 



HOW I ESCAPED 



BY 

W. H. PARKINS 



Archibald Clavering Gunter 

AUTHOR OF 

"MR. BARNES OF NEW YORK" 
"MR. POTTER OF TEXAS," Etc 



NEW YORK 
THE HOME PUBLISHING COMPANY 

7 East Fourteenth Street 
l88q. 



Copyright, i888, by 

ARCHIBALD C. GUNTER. 

[_Ail rights reserved."] 



Press of J. J. Little & Co. 
Astor Place, New York. 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK I. 



HOW I STAYED FOR HER. 

PAGE 

Chapter I. — " Got your carpet-bag packed ? " 5 

" II. — Amos Pierson, - - - 14 

" III. — Love or Duty, - - - - 22 

« IV.— The Empty Sleeve, - - 29 

BOOK II. 

HOW I FLED FROM HER. 

Chapter V. — A Confederate Detective, - - 38 

« VI.— The Provost Marshal, - - 45 

" VII.— The Blockade-runner, - - 54 

« yilL— The Shovel or the Rifle? - 62 

« IX.— The Night Attack, ... 69 

BOOK III. 

HOW I WON HER. 

Chapter X. — She Came ! - - - - 79 

XI.— The Red-headed Negro, - 84 
« XII. — The Honeymoon in the Blue 

Ridge, - - - - 93 

«' XIII.— When Girl Meets Girl ! - - 103 



603176 



4 CONTENTS. 

BOOK IV. 

HOW I CAME BACK AND FOUGHT FOR HER. 

PAGE 

Chapter XIV. — Into the Dark Country, - -no 

" XV.— Through the Gaps, - - ii8 

" XVI.— Through the Lines, - - - 132 

XVIL— The Letter of Life, - - 144 

" XVIIL— The Fight for the Bridge, - 151 

« XIX.— Where was She ? - - - 159 

« XX.— The Little Hostage, - - - 171 



HOW I ESCAPED. 



BOOK I. 
How I Stayed for Her. 



CHAPTER I. 

"got your carpet-bag packed ?" 

" Laura — Miss Peyton, may I have a dance ? " 

" Certainly ! " 

"The next waltz?" 

" No — the next dance, whatever it is ! Please take the 
very next, and come with me now, " 

As she said this, Laura Peyton slipped her arm into mine, 
and leading me through one of the French windows of the 
old southern house onto the wide balcony, whispered, 
her blue eyes blazing with excitement in the moonlight, 
though her cheeks were pale and her lips trembled: " Law- 
rence, it has come ! " 

"• Do you really mean it ? " 

" Yes, South Carolina has seceded ! " 

Her words brought almost despair to my heart, for 
Laura Peyton was a southern girl and I a northern man; 
and though but the day before we had plighted our troths 
and given our loves, I trembled as I thought of what the 
political passions of the time might bring to our lives. 

Seeing my expression, Laura suddenly placed her hand 
in mine, and whispered : " This shall never alter my 
promise to you, Lawrence ! " 

Some girls would have blushed or fluttered with a per- 
haps unconscious coquetry as they said the words, for 



6 HOW I ESCAPED. 

this was the second time in her life that my fiancee had 
called me by my Christian name ; but Laura Peyton's 
voice was firm and resolute, and brought back to me a 
firmness that I must confess for a moment had left me, 
for I knew the passion that was dominant in the South in 
i860, and the manner in which northern men were regard- 
ed by a large number of the population south of Mason and 
Dixon's line. 

Some cf this spirit was observable as we reentered the 
house, where a few of Laura's young friends were enjoy- 
ing an informal carpet-dance in the large old-fashioned 
parlor that December evening. Judge Peyton's residence 
was about five miles away from the little capital of South 
Carolina, and the sudden cessation of the music and ex- 
cited exclamations of the guests told us that the news had 
become generally known to the company. 

Belle, Laura's younger sister, who had been playing 
one of those old, long-since-forgotten Jullien polkas, after 
a moment's pause suddenly attacked the piano again with 
all the enthusiasm of sixteen, and sang the local seces- 
sion air that was soon afterward superseded by the 
Bonnie Blue Flag with her whole soul. The effect was 
electrical, and in a moment every voice in the room ex- 
cept my own rang out with the southern air. 

My failure to respond to this outburst of secession 
sentiment was noted by a young lawyer, who had been 
my friend and chum until a rivalry for Laura's affections 
and hand had somewhat cooled our good-fellowship. 
Harry Walton stepped up to me, and rather insinuatingly 
remarked : " Mr. Bryant does not sing this evening. 
Has he lost his voice ? " 

*' No," I replied ; "but I don't know that tune." 

" It's one that you'll have to sing before long, and if 
necessary Lll try and teach it to you," sneered young 
Walton. 

*' Oh, I'll instruct Law — Mr. Bryant myself," inter- 
rupted Laura, anxious to change a conversation that was 
becoming of a nature that sometimes in those days led 
to very serious results. 

This stumble over my Christian name probably enraged 
my rival much more than my refusal to join in the seces- 
sion melody. 

An expression of trouble passed over his face, as he 



HOW -I ESCAPED. 7 

caught a veiled glance the girl at my side cast upon me 
as she interposed between us. He bit his lip, and 
remarked coldly, with a forced composure: "Then I leave 
Mr. Bryant to your instructions, Miss Laura ; but in 
case you do not succeed — there are other and stronger 
teachers " 

" None that you could bring to bear upon me, Mr. 
Walton," I remarked. " If Miss Peyton does not succeed, 
you had better not attempt the task." 

My rival was about to reply in a tone that might have 
led to unpleasant results, when the conversation was inter- 
rupted by the entrance of Judge Peyton, the father of my 
sweetheart, and the company of young people running 
to him to get his ideas upon the political situation. 

" Father, you've heard the news ! We're no longer in 
the United States. We've cut loose from Uncle Sam. 
Seceded at last ! " cried his son, young Arthur Peyton, 
with the enthusiasm of twenty. 

"Yes; I've expected this for months," returned the 
judge solemnly, " and feared it ! " 

" Feared it ?" echoed two or three of the guests. 

" Feared it," cried his son; " feared the Yankees ? Why 
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia — every southern 
State is with us. We've all the trump cards in this 
game ! " 

" Humph ! " returned the judge. " But we haven't played 
them. We'll all do our duty by our State, Arthur ; but Fm 
afraid there'll be more tears than laughter about this 
business before it is ended." 

With those words and a slight sigh, Judge Peyton 
turned to his study, and after a few moments the company 
gradually left for their homes. 

" I shall, see your father in a day or two, Laura," I 
whispered as I bid her good-by. " This political com- 
plication compels me to have no misunderstanding in 
my relations to you." 

" You — you know I love you — will love you, no mat- 
ter what happens," returned my fiancee. 

Then mounting my horse for my short ride to Columbia, 
I saw Laura watching me as I passed down the moonlit 
avenue, the girl making a very pretty picture back- 
grounded by her southern home. 

Laura Peyton though in some respects a typical 



8 HOW I ESCAPED. 

southern girl, had little of that languor supposed to be 
peculiar to tropical loveliness, was no brunette with black 
lustrous eyes and voluptuous, lazy beauty, but brilliant 
and blue-eyed, vigorous and direct in movement and 
mind, and of a beauty that made her a female load-stone 
to the local beaux. Perhaps from very force of contrast 
to the languid manners of most of the South Carolina 
girls about her, she was one of the most popular young 
ladies in the section of the State near Columbia. 

It was a short five miles to the capital. I let my horse 
take his own gait, while I meditated upon the problem 
before me — that was to win and marry a southern girl from 
a southern family — from a seceded State, I — a northern 
man — a Union man, one who might have to meet her 
relatives even in battle — and this in December of the year 
i860, with the passions of that gigantic political volcano 
seething and struggling and fighting to break out of the 
crater that had been opened that very day by the seces- 
sion of South Carolina. Pondering upon this problem 
I trotted into the main street of Columbia, which was full 
of excited people discussing the situation, and as I did so, 
started and listened. 

The city bell upon the old market was ringing out joy- 
ous peal upon peal that meant its own and that town's de- 
struction by sword and flame after four years of most 
miserable horror and bloody war to the American peo- 
ple. 

The excitement had spread to the negro population. 
Young Caucus, my body servant, came to me, his eyes 
rolling and his red hair more frizzled than usual with 
excitement, for he was a mulatto with that unusual hair 
in people of his race, that we call brick-red. This 
gave him a curious made-up appearance, and added a 
comedy look to the boy even when he was in a rage. 

As young Caucus, whose services I had hired from his 
master, Judge Peyton, took charge of my horse, he seemed 
choking with some extraordinary idea, which had just 
come into his black brain, and gasped out to me : 
" 'Skuse me, Massa Bryant, but what you s'pose Massa 
Abram Lincoln do now dat South Carlina commit 'ces- 
sion — reckon Massa Lincoln hab to commit sucide." 

This extraordinary idea of the President elect's politi- 
cal duties made but little impression upon me at the 



HOW I ESCAPED, 9 

moment. I was too much perplexed at my own position, 
though I have often laughed at it since. 

I declined to discuss the matter with young Caucus, and 
passed into my house, where I spent several wakeful hours 
that night pondering over love, politics, and patriotism. 

I had been about five years in the South, having 
been called there in my profession of civil engineer to 
assist in laying out the work and building some of the new 
railroads being constructed in South Carolina and Georgia. 
I liked the country and its people, and did not wish to 
leave it — in fact, would not leave it unless I took Laura 
Peyton to the North with me, as a hostage from the 
southern people. Yet as I faced the outlook, and thought 
of having that very day been almost cut in the street by 
people I had considered as intmiates, because they doubted 
my loyalty to the cause of secession, and remembered the 
speeches made since Lincoln's election, I could not doubt 
that my next few months would be unpleasant ones in the 
Palmetto State, and that my course of true love would 
run over one of the rockiest beds that was ever invented 
for that tumultuous and uncertain stream. 

Pondering on this problem, I fell asleep, to be aroused 
next morning by the voice of Tom Baxter, who cried to 
me in a cheery way, " Got your carpet-bag packed ? " 

" No ! — what do you mean ? " 

"Well, you'll have to pack it soon. I mean you and I'll 
have to go North. " 

Tom was my associate engineer, and, occupying the 
same house with me, ejaculated his words from the next 
bedroom, where he was apparently making his morning 
ablutions. 

" You've just arrived from Augusta ?" asked I. 

*' One hour ago. And they're getting ready to do the 
same job in Georgia that they did in South Carolina yes- 
terday. Tell you more about it at breakfast," remarked 
the sententious Tom. 

Baxter had come from Illinois. Like myself, he saw 
the storm ahead, though from a different point of view, 
as he had been for the last few weeks, on the business of 
the railroad, in Georgia. He was a hard-thinking fellow, 
and reasoned upon all subjects, professional and otherwise, 
with the directness of a mathematician and in a very 
straight line. 



lO HOW I ESCAPED. 

I was anxious to get his full views upon our situation, 
and followed him quickly to our breakfast-room. 

As I entered, Mr. Baxter was laughing at some remarks 
of young Caucus, who was waiting at the table. 

" How you tink, Massa Baxter, de North stan up agin 
dose ? " exclaimed the negro, giving an excited wave of 
his napkin through the open window toward three com- 
panies of South Carolina militia that were marching 
by with true militia irregularity. " Dose sogers go up 
to settle de Black 'Publicans and dey settle dem aboli- 
tionists d d soon ! " 

" Give me some eggs ! " said Baxter, choking a 
laugh. 

" Some eggs and coffee for me, also. Caucus, and then 
get out," added I ; " I wish to talk to Mr. Baxter." 

" Yes sah ! of course sah ! " muttered the young negro, 
executing our orders, and then retiring from the room 
with martial step and a grin of joy, for the military band 
outside had suddenly struck up, and Caucus was anxious 
to follow the music, which he did shortly afterward, to- 
gether with half the young negroes of Columbia. 

" Now," remarked Baxter, as soon as the sound of Cau- 
cus' departing footsteps had died away, "you and I, 
Lawrence, will have to take a trip north very shortly. I 
suppose you are aware of that ? South Carolina seceded 
yesterday. To-morrow it will be Georgia and all the 
cotton States. And you and I know on which side of the 
line we ought to be when it comes to fighting." 

" I shall remain here, at least for the present," I re- 
marked. 

" So shall I, but I shall sell everything I have and be 
prepared to leave. Take my advice, and do the same." 

" Still, I'm comfortable here ; have succeeded in my 
profession ; am popular with the people about me." 

" Popular ? — How long will you be popular if you don't 
take their side in the coming struggle ? Popular ? — 
Doesn't every day show you your popularity is waning ? 
Popular ? " 

Here he stopped short, for Caucus came into the room 
bringing a pretty little envelope addressed to me in a 
feminine hand. 

As I tore open the envelope and devoured its contents, 
Mr. Baxter continued : 



HOW I ESCAPED, II 

" Popular — yes, I see, very popular with some one 
about here. That's why you're so anxious to stay. 
Well, if I guess right as to who the lady is, I'd risk a 
good deal to gain that girl, for she's worth winning. I 
wish you luck ; but all the same, if you remain in this 
State, you'll have to fight on one side of the line and I 
on the other, for I tell you that this movement means 
taiar ! " 

"War?" 

" Certainly ! Isn't that " — here Mr. Baxter got up from 
his chair, walked round to mine, and whispered in my ear 
— " armed rebellion to our Government — levying of war 
upon it right there before our very eyes ? " and he pointed 
through the window, toward where a portion of the South 
Carolina militia were marching down the main street of 
Columbia to take the cars for Charleston, to participate a 
short time afterward in the bombardment of Sumter. 

" It's war! " he continued — '* miserable, horrible, bloody 
civil war ! You've got to take your choice — ^our side or 
the other ; and if you remain here, it must be the other." 

" All the same," I replied, " I shall stay here until " 

" Until you win her ? I wish you luck, my boy ; but 
she a southern girl and you a northern man — God help 
you ! " And with this Mr. Baxter turned away, walked 
out of the room and went to his work at the railroad 
offices. 

I remained with a very glum face, which became more 
gloomy as I re-read the letter my fiancee had just written 
to me. It was as follows : 

'"The Oaks,' ] 

Columbia, December 2i, i860, f 

" Darling : Please come and see papa this very afternoon at the 
latest. Circumstances that I cannot explain by letter make me ask 
you as you love me not to delay your interview with my father. To- 
morrow may be too late. Don't fail. 

" Your Laura.'' 

What new complication did this note herald ? Puzzle 
my brain as I might, I could not guess. Of only one 
thing was I sure — that was my sweetheart loved me. 
So despite the clouds that seemed to hang over me, I was, 
in the elasticity of youth, comparatively happy even on 
that morning. 

But curiosity, added to love, made me hurry what 



12 HOW I ESCAPED. 

little railroad business I had on my hands, and early in 
the afternoon I rode out through the main street of 
Columbia, which was filled with people eagerly discussing 
the situation, for nearly all business was thrown aside 
for politics at that time, and after passing by the State 
lunatic asylum and the beautiful plantations of the 
Hamptons, Prestons and Singletons, soon found myself 
at the Avenue of Oaks that led to Judge Peyton's coun- 
try seat, called after the beautiful trees that embellished it. 

Before I reached the house, however, 1 was met by Miss 
Belle, who came running down the avenue to meet me, a 
leghorn hat with ribbons floating from it, after the fash- 
ion of the time, in one hand, the other held out to me. In 
the frank impulsiveness of her nature, she cried, with the 
very sweet southern accent this young lady possessed, 
" Laura has just told me all." 

"All!" I muttered, astonished at the suddenness of 
her outburst. 

" Certainly — all about you're wanting to marry her ! 
" You see she had to — a girl must confide in some one — 
no one could keep such a secret — and mother being dead, 
I took mamma's place — and I'm so glad you're going to 
join us — be one of us — I always said that Mr. Bryant 
was too good a man to be one of those awful Black Re- 
publicans — 'deed I did ! " 

This view of my political ideas being changed by my 
suit for her sister's hand rather amused me. I remarked : 

" I have never been a Black Republican — that is, not 
the kind of a Black Republican you mean." 

" There's only one kind of Black Republican ! " re- 
turned Miss Belle, sententiously. 

" What kind is that ? " 

" A bad abolitionist Black Republican. Oh, how I hate 
'em. They would destroy all our social happiness. They 
would separate us from the servants who love us. Fancy 
tearing old Mauma Chloe from me whom she loves. I 
told the poor old creature what the horrid northern^ 
wretches wanted to do to her, and she cried all last night. " 
But you're reformed — I know you are — and — you would 
like to see Laura, I suppose — she rather expects you " — 
this last with a roguish glance. " She's over there in the 
garden ! Here, Csesar ! come and take Mr. Bryant's 
horse ! " 



HOW I ESCAPED. I3 

r dismounted, and a black servant leading my nag to the 
stables, Miss Belle pointed to a white hat seen through the 
foliage, and cried, " There she is ! Good-by till — after- 
ward, Mr. Reformed Black Republican ! " 

I hardly heard the last of her speech, as I was rapidly 
making my way toward my sweetheart, who apparently 
did not notice my coming. As seated upon a bench in a 
little grove of oaks, she held a letter in her hand, though 
both her eyes were expectantly placed upon the road 
from Columbia. She had in some manner apparently 
missed me as I rode by, and was still looking for my 
coming — I thought with a kind of nervous impatience. 

A man's vanity is always flattered by the beauty of the 
woman who loves him ; and in gazing at Laura Peyton 1 
became very vain, for no prettier sight had ever met my 
eye. 

Though nearly Christmas, the weather was still mild 
and warm in this southern latitude, and the girl looked 
like a summer picture, as, with her white hat trimmed 
with a dainty ribbon or two thrown upon the bench 
beside her, and dressed in some light gossamer garment 
crinolined and puffed out about her, as was the fashion 
of those days, she leaned forward, all her soul in her eyes, 
looking the wrong way — for me. 

A moment afterward the tableau changed. Her eyes 
fell upon the letter — a shiver of disgust appeared to run 
through her. She sprang to her feet impatiently, in her 
haste permitting a glimpse of a southern foot and ankle 
that gave me another lover's rapture, and crushed the 
letter nervously in her hand. Her lips muttered in an 
excited manner, her eyebrows contracted with a slight 
frown, and she gave a determined stamp with her little 
foot. 

Then she turned her head, the frown changed to a 
smile, the shadow on her face became sunshine, her lips 
murmured, " Lawrence ! " — she was in my arms. 

After a moment she disengaged herself from my em- 
brace, and, affecting lightness, whispered : " I knew you 
would come. My note insured that. Curiosity as well 
as love is powerful in man as in woman." 

<• Why were you so anxious for me to see your father 
this very day ? " I asked, in reply to this. 

" This letter ! " she said, glancing at the crumpled paper. 



14 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" To-night, or at latest to-morrow, Amos Pierson will ask 
my father for my hand. This is his notification to me of 
his intention." 

"Amos Pierson ! " I gasped — " the millionaire cotton 
merchant of Savannah ? " 

" Certainly," she replied. " He entertained my father 
and myself last year when we visited Georgia. I think — 
I fear — he has some business or financial hold upon my 
father ! " " 

" You surely do not believe Judge Peyton would coerce 
you — in such a matter as this ! " 

" Certainly not ! But Amos Pierson, I can see from his 
letter, expects in the arrogance of his wealth to win me. 
Disappointment will make him our enemy and at this 
moment we need so many friends ! Lawrence, I know 
his character — beware of A?nos Pierson ! " 



CHAPTER II. 

AMOS PIERSON. 

" Beware of Amos Pierson — why ? — because he is my 
rival ? What do I fear, so long as I have your love ? 
Laura, why don*t you ask me to dread all the suitors for 
this hand — Harry Walton, for instance?" replied I, seiz- 
ing the fair member she had held out in warning gest- 
ure, 

" Because Harry Walton is a gentleman — impulsive, but 
always chivalric, always brave. Brave men are not so 
much to be dreaded as cowards. They strike fairly to 
your face — not behind your back. Amos Pierson is one 
of the kind you feel, but do not see. He will wound you 
in the back ! " 

*' Pshaw ! I'd much rather have Amos Pierson for a 
rival for your hand than Harry Walton — fifty is not so 
much to be dreaded as twenty-five, and I have heard Mr. 
Pierson's age stated at about the former figure," laughed 
I, anxious to relieve the anxiety of vcvy fiancee, though by 
no means happy to hear of an additional enemy to my 
wooing, surrounded as it was with so many political 
obstacles. 



HOW I ESCAPED. I5 

" Therefore you understand the reason I wish you 
to see my father this afternoon — so that Mr. Piersor^, 
when he arrives, will discover that my future station in 
life is already settled. That "—here she began to blush 
and falter — "that — 1 am as surely and as truly yours as 
if I were already wedded to — you ! " 

The last " you " was a little gasp, for what man could 
tefrain from sealing such a declaration from the woman 
he loved ? 

" So," I replied, " you wish Mr. Pierson to know he has 
no hope " 

" At once and forever ! You will find my father, Law- 
rence, in his library. This action of South Carolina has 
disturbed him very much. Heaven only knows to what 
it will lead ! " 

Knowing the house very well, I turned from my sweet- 
heart and found my way to her father, meditating on the 
consideration of Laura, who, in all our interview, had 
never mentioned the political troubles that stood in our 
path almost forcing us asunder ; for my sweetheart's 
sympathies were all with the South in the struggle, as 
what southern woman's were not, through that four 
years of famine, desolation, flame and bereavement, — to 
the end ! 

I knew, however, her father would mention the politi- 
cal aspect of our courtship, and was prepared for it. 

On entering Judge Peyton's library, to my astonish- 
ment I found him with the day's papers before him and a 
suspicious redness about the eyes. He greeted me pleas- 
antly, but rather sadly. 

" You have been reading the news ? " I ventured to 
remark, " with a good deal of interest." 

" With a good deal of sorrow," he replied. " This ordi- 
nance of our State legislature is, I feel, perhaps wrong — 
certainly hasty ; and may bring us more trouble than our 
politicians reckon. They pass the ordinance, but if it 
comes to fighting, the people will have to do that, and I 
have a young boy " — here the judge looked wistfully at 
the picture of Arthur that hung upon the wall ; then con- 
tinued with a sigh — " and he is anxious to be in the front. 
I fear for him. Heaven only knows what secession may 
bring to my family ! " 

Here was my opening. I remarked ; 



l6 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" It was in regard to )^our family that I called to ?^peak 
to you. Miss Laura " 

'* Ah ! " 

" I love her, and I have asked her to marry me. She 
has consented. I have now come to you to ask your 
approval of my suit." 

To this the judge did not answer, so I went on and 
gave him a short history of my courtship of his daughter, 
stating that our affection was mutual. 

Here the judge stopped me by remarking, suddenly, 
" You wish to marry my daughter at this time ? " 

" As soon as possible ! You know my professional rep- 
utation in the South : that I am as well able to support 
her as most young men who depend entirely upon their 
professional exertions." 

" Yes, I have no doubt of your ability," replied the old 
gentleman, " as an engineer ; but, though I have every 
respect for your professional attainments, the peculiar 
position that you hold in our community makes me hesi- 
tate to give my consent to your proposition that a few 
months ago I should have been pleased to consider." 

'' Why should the severance by South Carolina of her 
ties to the Federal Government of the United States com- 
pel me to sever the ties of love that bind me to your 
daughter?" I asked, impetuously. 

" Because the ordinance of secession passed yesterday 
will make my daughter and you citizens of two different 
nations that bid fair, shortly, to become hostile to one 
another. If war should break out between us and the 
United States, you would be unable to live in this com- 
munity, and a wife must follow her husband," remarked 
the judge, slowly and deliberately, as if weighing his 
words. " My daughter's sympathies are, I hope, entirely 
with the people of her State in such a quarrel. Political 
differences would destroy eventually any love that there 
now may be between you. You are both young, impul- 
sive, and ardent, and you could not so entirely restrain 
yourselves as to prevent the excitement of the combat 
raging about you from entering into your home. There- 
fore I am opposed to any immediate union between you 
and my daughter. Perhaps," continued the judge, with 
a sigh, " this quarrel of the politicians may yet be settled 
by the people without bloodshed. Pray heaven it may 



HOW I ESCAPED. 17 

be ! If so, come to me again, and if my daughter loves 
you as you say she does, my answer will be a different 
one, unless " 

" Unless what ? " I interrupted, hastily. 

" Unless " here he checked himself suddenly and 

said : " But that is an affair of the future. At present 
all I can say, Mr. Bryant, is, that I wish you to consider 
my daughter entirely freed from any promise she has 
made to you until the present political storm has ended. 
God knows I wish South Carolina had not seceded ! " he 
continued, impulsively. 

" Ah ! ycu are a Union man," I cried. 

*' I love the Union, but I love my State better ; and 
though, like many other men in the South, I have 
struggled to prevent yesterday's hasty and radical action 
by my native commonwealth ; still, that action being 
taken, I am for my State, rig/i^ or wrong. I shall confer 
with Laura, and perhaps, after an interview with her 
may write you further my views upon the proposition 
you have done me the honor to make. You have my 
highest personal esteem, Mr. Bryant," he said, shaking 
my hand as I rose with rather a gloomy and unhappy 
expression on my face. 

" Then you have no objection to my visiting your 
daughter ? " I asked. 

" None in the world, as a friend. All I wish is that 
until the political horizon becomes clear, you entirely for- 
get that my daughter has given you reason to hope for 
her hand. As a man of common sense, this should impress 
itself upon you. As a man of honor, a father's wishes in 
regard to his child at such a moment should be binding 
upon you." With this the judge returned to his reading, 
apparently anxious to close the interview. 

As I walked through the hallway I encountered a 
young gentleman whom I hoped would some day be 
my brother-in-law — young Mr. Arthur Peyton, with 
the enthusiasm of twenty, excitement, youth and hope 
upon his face, had apparently just arrived from Colum- 
bia. 

His expression betokened intense joy. He cried out 
merrily : " Hello, Bryant ! Isn't this glorious ? Wade 
Hampton is about to raise a legion for the service of 
South Carolina in case of northern invasion, and has 



l8 now I ESCAPED. 

offered me a lieutenanc)\ There's promotion for you ! 
Quicker than if I had been at West Point." 

" If the uniform is handsome, I presume you'll be very 
fatal to the young ladies about here," remarked I. 

" Trust me for that," laughed the boy, and continued : 
" By the bye, your friend Walton will rank me, as he has 
been offered a captaincy." 

" That is the advantage of twenty-five over twenty in 
this world." 

" But I don't suppose you care much about this, as you 
are a northern man; though periiaps, pleaded with " — here 
the rogue winked at me — " by my sister, we may consider 
you as not the ivorst type of ' Black Republican.' " 

These remarks, which brought me once more face to 
face with the obstacle constantly growing larger and 
larger between my love and its happy consummation, 
gave me a very surly and dogged air as I walked into 
the garden, which Avas instantly perceived by my fiancee. 

As she came toward me, she whispered : " Lawrence, 
bad news ? Papa refuses his consent ? " 

" Not so bad as that," I replied. " He only asks us to 
postpone our engagement until our political troubles are 
ended." 

" Postpone ouF engagement ? You mean postpone our 
marriage." 

" No — our engagement ! " 

" Impossible ! Our engagement was made yesterday. 
As well ask us to postpone our love." 

'' Yes, he asks us to forget what we said to each other 
yesterday. Can you do that ? " I whispered into the 
dainty shell that she called her ear. 

" Forget that you said you loved me ? — Oh, Law- 
rence ! " and the tears came into her eyes. 

*' That is what he asks ; but it is as impossible for me as 
to forget that I live. However, that is what your father 
wants." 

*' I can forget no more than you that I love you ! " 
whispered the dear girl, emphasizing her words with a 
glance that set me to comforting her in the way most 
pleasing to engaged young ladies. 

After a few moments, her spirits having come back to 
her, Miss Laura said, airily : " Oh, I don't mind if papa 
a.sks us to postpone our marriage, after all ' " 



HOW I ESCAPED. I9 

"Indeed !" I said, rather sullenly, "I had supposed 
you wished to marry me immediately." 

" No, Lawrence, not immediately,'' said the 3^oung lady, 
laughing. " Trousseaux are works of time, and by the 
time my trousseau is ready, this political squabble be- 
tween our southern fire-eating politicians and your Puri- 
tanical northern philanthropists will undoubtedly be 
ended. So when my trousseau is ready, I shall be ready. 
As to the engagement being suspended, I will see papa' 
about that at once " — this with a little laugh and playful 
threatening of the hand toward the judge's library win- 
dow. 

" Immediately ? " I cried, in rapture. 

"Yes," she said, starting and turning pale. "This 
matter must be settled within five minutes, for I see the 
man who will do all he can to prevent our union from being 
made complete." As she said this she pointed down the 
avenue, and following the direction of her hand, I saw 
a gentleman riding up the pretty road that led from 
Columbia. 

" His name?" I gasped. 

"Amos Pierson," she faltered, and with that disap- 
peared by one of the French windows leading from 
the old-fashioned southern portico into her father's 
library. 

I gazed very savagely at this supposed enemy of my 
happiness as he rode up the avenue, and did not think 
him handsome. 

He was a man about fifty years of age, rather inclined 
to be florid and stout, with brilliant steel-blue eyes, an 
honest forehead, but a treacherous mouth. He frequently 
laughed, and showed exceedingly white, large fangy 
teeth. He was dressed in the southern style of that day, 
in black broadcloth somewhat too large for him, dark 
slouch hat, pro lounced diamonds and massive gold 
jewelry in the form of rings and watch-chain. He was 
followed by a handsome young quadroon slave, carrying 
a valise and saddle-bags upon the horse he rode at a 
short distance behind his master. 

" Ain't he horrid ? " whispered Miss Belle in my ear, 
as she came beside me to witness the new arrival. " He is 
like Sol Smith, the actor, when he plays Jacques Strop," 
for this young lady, though but sixteen, had a passionate 



20 HOW I ESCAPED. 

love for the theater, and regarded a visit to Charleston, 
where she could see any of the popular pieces of that 
day, as one of the joys of her existence. 

Mr. Pierson, however, not having heard this remark, 
flashed at the young lady a grinny smile, saluted her with 
a wave of his hand, and coming up to her, said, enthusi- 
astically : " You have done the business in South Caro- 
lina a little ahead of us Georgians, Miss Belle, but we 
won't be far behind you. These northern abolitionists 
who would rob us of our property must be checked at 
once and forever." 

These remarks from a man who had not yet lost his 
New England twang, and whose every manner and gesture 
indicated his Yankee origin, seemed to me as astonishing 
as they were disgusting ; but he was like most northern 
men who from self-interest or association took the part of 
the South in our late quarrel ; the further north a man 
came from, the more bitter, unrelenting, bloodthirsty and 
cruel he was in his sentiments, expressions, and denuncia- 
tions of the birth-place that he had disowned and upon 
which he was willing to make war. This was not so aston- 
ishing as it would seem, for nearly all of these men had 
come down south as slave traders or overseers, — two 
occupations that did not tend to develop the sympathy 
and kindliness of the human heart. 

Mr. Pierson had begun as overseer some thirty years 
before I saw him, and from that had graduated to 
slave dealer. Then, having accumulated considerable 
money by speculating in black flesh and blood, he had 
gradually drifted into the cotton trade, and was now sup- 
posed to be the richest cotton broker in any of the Gulf 
States. He was consequently a most pronounced seces- 
sionist and an intense hater of everything that was not 
southern. 

" You mean," said Miss Belle, spicily, " that we im- 
pulsive South Carolinians have stolen a march upon you 
lazy, sluggish Georgians ; — but permit me to introduce a 
reformed Black Republican — Mr. Lawrence Bryant, Mr. 
Amos Pierson." 

It was vitally to my interest that Laura should conclude 
her interview with her father without interruption from 
the gentleman before me ; anxious to detain him, I joined 
the conversation. • 



HOW I ESCAPED. 21 

*' A reformed Black Republican ? Why this is a 
curiosity ! " sneered Mr. Pierson. 

" I would be a curiosity if I were one," replied I, rather 
hotly, for the appearance of the man before me irritated 
me to such an extent that I was not as careful of my 
words as my position at the moment should have dictated. 

" Ah ! you are 7wt a reformed Black Republican ? " 

" Oh, yes he is," laughed Miss Belle ; " Laura has 
reformed him." 

" Laura ? " said Mr. Pierson, giving me an ugly glance, 
while his face grew red with some emotion the mention 
of my beautiful sweetheart's name brought to his mind. 
" Laura ? What had she to do with it ? " 

" Oh, that you will discover in time," laughed Miss 
Belle. "He came here a northern man, but he has 
decided to remain south. He has concluded to be one 
of us if " 

Here I interrupted hastily : '* Miss Belle imagines, 
because I do not contradict her southern ideas, that I have 
forgotten what my relatives and friends in Illinois have 
written to me — that it is the feeling of every one in my 
old home that the Union must be preserved at any cost, 
and in any way." 

"Ah! then they would make war upon us?" laughed 
Mr. Pierson, showing his teeth. " Well, I am ready to eat 
the first northern Black Republican on the sacred southern 
soil of our State." 

"Perhaps you had better begin with me," I returned 
hotly, but the conversation was here brought to an end by 
Miss Laura coming from the library, followed by her 
father, and welcoming in true southern hospitable man- 
ner the man she knew would do his utmost to frustrate 
what at that time I was confident from her confession 
must be very dear to her. 

As it was growing toward evening, it was time for me 
to return to Columbia. Mr. Pierson, with the judge, had 
entered the house, while I made my adieux to Miss Belle, 
who then kindly turned her back upon us and allowed 
her sister and myself a tete-a-tete as I rode down the 
avenue. 

"It's all right, Lawrence," said vay fiancee, as soon as 
we were out of Miss Belle's hearing. " Papa knows I 
can marry no one but you, and h^s consented to our 



22 HOW I ESCAPED 

engagement, only stipulating that it shall not be an- 
nounced, and that our marriage must be postponed until 
our political troubles have ceased. God grant the time 
may come soon." 

" I echo that prayer," I whispered, as I kissed my thanks, 
and waving my hat, I rode laughingly and happily away, 
only once turning around to look at the fair girl as she 
stood, the setting sun illumining and making bright her 
face, surrounded and backgrounded by the beautiful 
green foliage of the avenue oaks. 

"Good-by," she cried, waving her hand. '' It will be 
all right in a month," while I reechoed her words, and, 
made foolish by love, believed them ! 



CHAPTER III. 

LOVE OR DUTY. 

But during the month which I had supposed would see 
the political horizon clear, Mississippi, Florida, and all 
the Gulf States seceded, and every day made it further 
and further from being "all right." 

The Southern Confederacy was formed, the various 
branches of its government completed, and company after 
company and regiment after regiment thronged through 
Columbia en 7'oute for Charleston, to encircle with brist- 
ling batteries and frowning guns the only fortification in 
South Carolina that still flaunted the flag of the United 
States. 

This immense transportation of troops and military 
material made my railroad duties exceedingly arduous; 
consequently I had little time to visit the Peytons, though 
every spare moment of mine was devoted to my sweet- 
heart, and we passed, even at that time, many happy 
hours together. 

Laura informed me that, upon learning from her father 
of her contemplated matrimonial union with me, Mr. Pier- 
son had left the next day for Savannah, having wished 
her — rather ironically, she thought — a happy ending to 
her engagement. 

During this time, however, two occurrences took place 



HOW I ESCAPED. 23 

to which I gave but little heed at the moment, but which 
affected me very seriously shortly afterward. They were 
these: 

One day young Caucus came into my ofifice, and, in his 
excitable darky manner, said : " Mas' Bryant, dar am 
sev'ral officers below dat am anxious for a interview." 

I ordered them to be admitted, and found that they 
were two members of the staff of General Beauregard 
who was then in command of the Confederate forces about 
Charleston. One of them, Stuart Bee, a Georgian and 
a particular friend of mine, handed me a letter tendering 
me a staff appointment upon the transportation corps of 
the Confederate army. He said they had called to ask if 
I did not wish to take immediate charge of the movement 
of the troops then being pushed forward to reinforce the 
Confederate soldiers already about Charleston. 

I replied that I did not wish to join the Confederate 
army in any capacity. 

" Why not ? " asked Bee. " Do you not now forward 
to us all the troops that pass here ? " 

" Yes," I replied, " as engineer of the South Carolina 
Railroad, but not as a member of the Confederate army." 

''Well," he replied, "you do your work in a very satis- 
factory manner; but I had hoped that you would accept 
the appointment, because it would put an immediate stop 
to the local prejudice that is growing up against you. For 
your own sake, you should make it plain that you are 
favorable to the Confederate cause. The report that you 
have refused this offer will only tend to make your posi- 
tion here more uncomfortable with our people who sur- 
round you." 

" I am very much obliged," I replied, " for the honor 
tendered me, but must still refuse. I am fully sensible 
of the inconvenience that my declination may bring to me, 
but cannot reconsider the proposition. Do you know, 
by the bye, who was it that recommended me for the 
position ? " 

'•I believe Mr. Amos Pierson, of Savannah, who has lately 
accepted some large contracts for army supplies for the 
Confederate Government," replied my friend. 

With this the two officers said good-by, leaving me 
to reflect that Mr. Amos Pierson, through his recommenda- 
tion to General Beauregard, had succeeded in compelling 



24 HOW I ESCAPED. 

me to assume a stand that in this exciting time would prob- 
ably cause my social ostracism by most of my neighbors 
in Columbia. 

Evidences of this in the next few days became appar- 
ent. My refusal to accept an ofifice upon the staff of 
Genera] Beauregard was noted by the local papers and 
commented upon in no flattering terms, and the cold 
shoulders that had been turned to me for some time past 
during my business and social intercourse with the citi- 
zens of the town became much more cold. 

Even Laura remarked this with a sigh as she said: 
" What a pity, Lawrence, that you are not one of us — one 
who loves the South." 

" As well as I do one of its maidens," laughed L 
but the laugh had a rather forced and unpleasant ring 
in it. 

The second event was the departure of young Arthur 
Peyton with his company to join the forces about Charles- 
ton. 

The lad went off in high spirits, laughing and happy as 
if he were going to a picnic or a frolic, but after that a 
little of the coming gloom of the war descended upon his 
family. His father sighed more often, and Miss Laura 
and Miss Belle seemed to be even more southern than 
before in their sentiments, the latter young lady saying to 
me one day: " If I don't soon make a true South Caro- 
linian of you by coaxing and by being your friend in your 
suit for Laura, I shall begin to try sterner measures, Mr. 
Lawrence Bryant." 

She said this with a very sweet sixteen-year-old laugh, 
but I felt, notwithstanding, that there was an unpleasant 
tone of truth in her remark. 

So things drifted on and on, always for the worse, until 
one day Columbia became a ferment of excitement under 
the news of the bombardment and capture of Fort Sumter 
by the Confederate forces. 

From that time on I knew that there was no hope of 
any peaceful solution of the difificulty that had begun by 
the secession of South Carolina four months before. 

I felt that my duty called me to the North, that my 
love bound me to the South, and so I lingered despite 
the warning of Mr. Tom Baxter, who arrived the day 
afterward from Georgia. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 25 

" Are you going with me, Lawrence ? " he asked. 

" Going where ? " 

*' North, of course, while you have the chance." 

" Not at present," I replied. 

" Not at present ?" he echoed. " If you don't go now, 
you will never go. When two armies face each other in 
Virginia and Tennessee, it will not be so easy a matter 
to pass through their contending lines as it is to buy a 
through ticket for Washington and get north in less than 
two days, as I am about to do." 

" Still," I replied, " I shall remain here for the present." 

" Ah ! I suppose it is the young lady who still detains 
you ? Marry her, and take her north with you ! " 

"■ At such a time she would not leave her father and 
her sister. I fear that 1 will lose her if I leave her, and 
I love her too well to give her up." 

"Well, my boy," returned the sententious Tom, "if 
you stay here two months longer, you will not be able to 
leave peaceably, and you'll lose the girl anyway." 

" What makes you think that ? — Laura Peyton loves 
me !" muttered I, in almost a tremble. 

" Laura Peyton loves you mow ; but wait till the 
fighting begins, and your sweetheart will very soon grow 
cold to a man who is not willing to risk his life for the 
cause s/ie loves. You will not be able to stand against 
her prayers and entreaties ; and if you do not, you and I, 
my dear old chum, will perhaps meet in combat upon the 
battle-field. Take your last and only chance to do your 
duty. There'll be no half measures in this conflict. Go 
north and be a northern man, or remain in the South and 
you, nolens volens, will have to fight for the Confederacy." 

With this Mr. Baxter proceeded on his way, but though 
out of my view, his remarks lingered in my mind, and 
had it not been for the beautiful eyes, welcoming arms, 
and beguiling smiles of the girl I loved, I should soon 
have followed Mr. Baxter north. 

Thus, undecided, struggling between love and duty, I 
remained until the first day of July, 1861, drew near. 

From that day the Confederate Government had decreed 
that all people remaining under its jurisdiction should be 
considered subjects of the^Confederacy and not permitted 
to leave its borders without its permission. Such per- 
missi n it was considered a military necessity not to grant. 



26 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

save to women, children, and persons not subject to mili- 
tary duty. 

I was now compelled to take some definite action. 
After a night spent in alternate wavering between my 
love for my country and my love for Laura Peyton, I 
decided to return to the North, if possible taking her with 
me as my wife, — if not, hoping that she would be true to 
me through the few months which I thought it would 
probably take to settle the contest now beginning be- 
tween the North and South. 

Actuated by this idea, I rode out through the pretty 
streets of Columbia to the home of my sweetheart. It was 
a very calm, beautiful summer evening, but I hardly 
noticed it, so engrossed was I in the misery and anxiety 
which my resolution had brought to me. 

As I rode up the avenue, a horseman rapidly passed me, 
apparently coming from Judge Peyton's house. He was 
muttering to himself in some trouble apparently greater 
than mine. His features were not so distorted by misery, 
however, that 1 failed to recognize in the uncertain light 
the face of Harry Walton. He was dressed in the uniform 
of a captain of the Hampton Legion, and rode by me so 
rapidly that I did not think he saw me, for he uttered no 
word of greeting, and gave me no salutation. 

This was not altogether surprising, though we had been 
great friends a few months before, and chums at college 
in '55, and it was partly owing to his friendship that I had 
obtained my railroad position. Still, ever since the bright 
face of Laura Peyton had come between us, he had grown 
colder and colder, and his hearty shake of the hand had 
gradually changed to a bow, the bow to a nod, and the 
nod had become colder and colder, until we were now 
almost strangers. This was partly due to our different 
political senthnents, but more from his suspicion that I 
had found favor in the sight of the woman he loved, 
though as Laura's engagement to me had never been 
formally announced, he had by no means given up all 
hope of winning her hand, and his visits to her home in 
the last few months had been as frequent as my own. 

On entering the house, I was greeted by Miss Belle, who 
rather cavalierly informed me that her sister would not 
be visible for a few minutes, but if I could waste a little 
of my time on her, she would tell me something that 



HOW I ESCAPED. 2J 

would perhaps prove to me that, notwithstanding my 
lukewarm southern sentiments, she was still my friend, — ■ 
" though I am not goijig to be so much longer," she said, 
rather savagely. 

"Well, what have you done forme?" I asked, trying 
to turn the conversation. 

"Done for you? I have this evening, with consum- 
mate tact for a girl of my years, prevented your sweet- 
heart's being proposed to in full form with all the 
romantic advantages of military uniform, broken heart, 
and instant departure for war and bloodshed by one 
Harry Walton, once attorney at law, but now captain in 
Wade Hampton's gallant legion. He looked so hand- 
some in his regimentals, that I would not have given much 
for your chances had he ever asked Laura," remarked 
Miss Belle, rather sarcastically ; " and if he ever comes 
back wounded for our glorious cause, I wouldn't give 
much for them any way," continued the girl, with a little 
laugh, partly of merriment and perhaps partly of malice. 

" He didn't see her, then ?" 

" Oh, yes, he saw her ; but he didn't have any chance to 
propose to her, for I took care to make the third at the 
parting, and didn't give him a single second for a tete-a- 
tctc. Nevertheless their parting was very affectionate, 
and perhaps a little tender. There were tears on both 
sides as he bade her good-by. That is the reason she 
won't see you now, — red eyes are not becoming." 

" And why have you done this thing for me — one 
whom you half dislike ? " ventured I. 

" Because," replied the lady, airily, " I still have hopes 
of you ; and, until I give up in despair, am perfectly will- 
ing to be your friend ; but when I do make up my mind 
once, definitely and forever, that you will never become 
one of us, that moment my good offices will leave you, 
and I shall do my best to assist Harry Walton in gaining 
the love of my sister. You see I'm an artful recruiting 
officer, for the C. S. A." 

This conversation was now interrupted by the entrance 
of Laura whose white summer dress made her look to me 
prettier than ever — perhaps because 1 thought I should 
soon part from her. 

There was a suspicion of redness in her eyes and a 
tearine s about her cmile which indicated that her sister 



25 HOW I ESCAPED. 

had not exaggerated the effect of Captain Walton's fare- 
well. 

After a few moments' conversation, Miss Belle left the 
room, and I began to explain my motives and my plans 
to my sweetheart, once or twice interrupted by a gasp of 
pain and a sob that carried with it no tears. 

When I had finished, she looked at me and faltered : 
" Lawrence, I know if you part from me now, it will be 
forever." 

" Forever ! — no, no. I'll come back for you, as sure as I 
stand by you now. But come with me north — leave all 
this trouble behind you " 

" Leave my poor old father — my little sister — who 
have just now given Arthur to their country's cause — • 
leave them ? No, no, Lawrence ; you may love me, but 
now you do not honor me." 

" Not when I beg you to be my wife ? " 

" Yes, but if I accepted — if I let myself be happy — if 
I deserted the South and my dear father and sister, I 
should despise myself. Lawrence, if you wish to retain 
my love, never ask me to do this mean thing again ! " 
This last the girl said in a haughty despair, walking up 
and down the room, but sometimes stopping to kiss and 
fondle, and at others to flash almost angry glances at me. 

The scene was becoming cruel. Fortunately it was 
interrupted by a servant bringing in a letter addressed to 
Miss Laura Peyton and marked " Immediate." As she 
tore it open, I recognized that the handwriting was that 
of Harry Walton. 

She glanced through it, handed it to me, and said fal- 
teringly : " Harry Walton asks me to marry him ; and 
you leave me at such a moment ? " 

" What have you or I to fear from Harry Walton ? He 
is a gentleman," I answered. 

" But there is one who is not a gentleman," she 
gasped. "Amos Pierson, through his business hold 
upon my father, still thinks to win me." 

" Still thinks to win you ? A man whom you de- 
spise ? " 

" Yes ; here are the proofs," and she handed me a 
bundle of letters. " I had intended to show you these 
some time ago, but circumstances compel me to let you 
read them at once. This man will not give up his hopes 



HOW I ESCAPED. 29 

of my love, — will not give up his desire for my hand. Can 
you at such a moment, even for your political principles 
leave me, the woman who loves you^ who has stood 
against the advice of the friends of her youth and the en- 
treaties of her relatives, to be true to the promise that 
six months ago she gave you to be your wife ? Can 
you desert and leave me alone for an indefinite period in 
a land that may perhaps become the scene of actual war- 
fare ? Can you part from me and hope to win me ? Stay 
here, and I will love you forever ; desert me, and I shall 
doubt the truth of your affection. Is it my love, our 
happiness, and your presence by my side, — or do you 
leave me surrounded by enemies to my affection for you, 
to be parted more and more from you each day by 
the political passions of this awful time ? Will you, dare 
you — dare I let you — take such chances against the hap- 
piness of our lives ? Do you remain in the South, or do 
you go north ? " 

Enforced by pleading eyes, clinging arms, and loving 
kisses from the woman he loved, what man could give 
an answer other than I did ? " I remain ! " 

As I left her that evening, I thought there was triumph 
as well as love in Laura Peyton's eyes. 

The first of July, 1861, passed. I still stayed in 
South Carolina, was considered a citizen of the Con- 
federacy, and became subject to Confederate military 
law. 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE EMPTY SLEEVE. 



The immense transportation now forced upon all rail- 
roads in the South, of arms, ammunition and men, to the 
scene of war in Virginia now occupied the most of my 
time. 

The rest of it I gave to her. 

In fact, almost all other social intercourse was debarred 
me, for the rumor had been circulated constantly, and con- 
tinually gained ground in the community, that my sympa- 
thies were northern. Thus shunned by the friends and 
acquaintances of a few months before, I was compelled 



3® HOW I ESCAPED. 

to live almost entirely by myself, and the only solace that 
I had was the sweet caresses and bright smiles of my 
fiancee who seemed at this time to be made even more 
tender than before by the recollection that for her sake I 
had isolated myself in a community so entirely hostile to 
me. These reports as to my northern sentiments were so 
continually and systematically spread, that I knew some 
one interested in annoying me circulated them. I had a 
faint suspicion that this was due to the efforts of Mr. 
Amos Pierson, who had now become one of the leading 
army contractors in the South, and was making a large 
amount of money from his operations with the Confeder- 
ate Government. Consequently he had great weight and 
influence in its councils. This suspicion was made a 
certainty by another proffer of a staff appointment from 
General Pembcrton, who had become the local com 
mander of the district. 

I again refused, and also discovered that this offer was 
made at Mr. Pierson's suggestion. 

The local papers again published my refusal, and made 
longer and more violent comments upon it than before, 
but the Confederate Government took no action at this 
time as to forcing me into their service, probably knowing 
that my experience as a railroad engineer was of great 
value to them in my present location. 

So the Confederacy drifted along through the varying 
successes and hopes and fears of the first two years of its 
existence. 

It had become tacitly understood between my sweet- 
heart and myself that as soon as the war was over we 
were to be married. I had at first hoped that this would 
not mean more than a year's delay, but as time wore on, 
the end seemed further and further in the distance. The 
dogged persistence of the North seemed only to become 
more dogged and more determined by defeat and disas- 
ter, until early in December, 1862, the battle of Fred- 
ericksburg was fought, and brought great misery to me. 

The news of the success of the Confederate arms had 
been received by telegraph. The ladies of Columbia, 
and those of the men who were not in the army, were 
excited with the joy of triumph. 

Two weeks after this battle, on Christmas Day, 1 had 
ridden out to Judge Peyton's to enjoy the only hospital- 



HOW I ESCAPED. 3I 

ity I could then find in the community. For I had no 
friends, though still waited upon by the faithful Caucus, 
who stuck to me in spite of, as he expressed it, " de 
an'mosityob de South ! " 

Laura had received me as usual, but her sister, Miss 
Belle, who had by this time gradually given up all hope 
of making me a southerner in feeling, remarked with 
some asperity that she thought it was about time I 
showed myself to be a man, and instead of making love 
to young ladies, went out and fought, like other men, 
for them on the battle-field,—" like Major Harry Walton, 
for instance," for by this time death had made promotion 
rapid in the Confederate army, and Walton was now a 
major, while Arthur, their brother, but twenty-two years 
of age, was a captain in one of the South Carolina regi- 
ments. 

The family had received no news from him, though 
they knew that he was in the army engaged at Fredericks- 
burg. During the first months of the war the anxiety of 
the judge's family for the safety of the hope of their 
house had been something upon which it was fearful to 
look. The panting eagerness of the two girls as they 
read the dispatches, the suppressed apprehension with 
which they looked at the long lists of killed and wounded 
that followed every battle, made my heart bleed for 
them. But as engagement after engagement took place, 
and their brother's name never appeared in the lists of 
maimed or dead, such is the curious effect of habit that 
even they became accustomed to the suspense, and rather 
thought that their brother enjoyed a charmed life that 
could not be shortened or endangered by, as they ex- 
pressed it, " Yankee bullets." 

They had not received any communication from the 
young man since Fredericksburg, and thought it curious 
that he had not written to assure them of his safety. 
Though knowing the exigencies and demands of military 
life, it did not create any great anxiety in their minds, as 
the lists of killed and wounded, as hurriedly telegraphed 
from the field hospitals, had not contained the young 
man's name. 

The judge had just come out on the veranda to smoke 
his after-dinner pipe, as good cigars in those days were 
a very rare article in the South, while corncobs and to- 



32 HOW I ESCAPED. 

bacco could be always obtained. I had accompanied 
him, and we were sitting down, the old gentleman talking 
to me about the happy Christmas days of a few years be- 
fore when his son Arthur was at home— a subject on 
which he seemed to linger ; for the judge doted more 
and more upon the boy as his absence became longer. 
Suddenly I heard a subdued cry from Miss Belle, who 
was looking out of one of the upper windows over 
our heads, and turning around I saw a light wagon 
just drawing up at the steps of the house. In it upon 
the back seat were two Confederate officers, one of them 
supporting the other, who seemed in an almost fainting 
condition. 

As the wheels stopped, he appeared to rouse himself, 
and said faintly, though in quite a weak voice : " Home 
again ! " 

The next instant, with a scream, " It's Arthur's voice! " 
Miss Belle and the judge had run to the wagon, from 
which Harry Walton, with bandaged head, was support- 
ing Arthur Peyton. They were around him in an instant 
with tears, caresses, and cries of joy. 

Then suddenly Miss Belle shrieked out : " Arthur, 
Where's your arm ? " 

The boy gasped, " Lost at Fredericksburg," and fainted 
away upon his father's breast, who groaned " Great God ! 
it's his right arm ! " while Laura looking at him with a 
pale face, sobbed, " Maimed for life ! " 

In a moment they had him upstairs ; I, calling for my 
horse to be saddled, prepared to ride into Columbia for a 
doctor. While this was being done, Harry Walton and I, 
left alone together, looked at each other on the veranda. 

" You," I said, " are wounded also ?" 

" Yes," replied he; '' the fragment of a shell grazed my 
head at Fredericksburg. My hurt is slight. God knows 
how Laura's brother's wound will turn out ! " 

We neither of us went in, to interrupt the first agony of 
grief that came upon the Peytons. Both Major Walton 
and myself considered such a scene as a sacred one. 

A moment after, Miss Laura's voice was heard crying, 
" Get a doctor, quick ! " and Belle screamed, " Arthur's 
dying ! " 

I sprang upon my horse, and as the judge came hur- 
riedly upon the veranda, I shouted: " Don't fear ! I will 



HOW I ESCAPED. 33 

have a doctor here as soon as horseflesh can do it," and 
galloped away down the avenue. An hour afterward 
i returned, followed by the best physician in Columbia 
that I could obtain,— good doctors being scarce, most of 
them having volunteered their services in the field. 

While the physician went up to make his examination, 
the young ladies came downstairs, and Miss Belle, with 
feminine logic and philosophy, strode up to me, and with 
flashing eyes whispered : '' It was your friends who have 
done this to my brother. How can you expect me ever 
to endure your sight again ? " 

*' Hush! " said Laura, coming between us. " Belle, you 
are unjust. Lawrence had no more to do with this than you, 
and has but this moment proved his friendship and sym- 
pathy by doing everything in his power to save our 
brother's life." 

" Oh ! you love him! " cried her sister; "you love him 
yef ; but when, if my brother lives, you look at his empty 
sleeve, you will hate this northern man as I do." ^Vith 
that she walked into the house. 

" Forgive her, Lawrence," said Laura, apologetically; 
*' she is but a child. Remember her excitement, her 
love for her brother, and her misery at seeing him thus 
maimed." 

" I have every consideration," I replied, " for your family 
in your bereavement; but think, dear Laura, in what a 
fearful position I am placed when every misfortune of this 
war is laid upon me, — when I am surrounded by enemies, 
and have nowhere to turn but to the friendship of you 
and your family." 

" I will remember," said Laura; " I will fry to remember 
— if I can." 

As these words, ominous to my future happiness, fell 
from the lips of the girl I loved, the surgeon came down 
and made his report. With careful nursing and tender 
care, there was every chance for the young man's life. 

" But his arm ! " almost sobbed the judge ; " his arm ! 
My poor maimed boy ! " and Miss Belle, after echoing her 
father, cried out to me, as I rode away from the house; 
'■' This is what your northern brothers have done to us, 
Mr. Lawrence Bryant ! " 

Under these circumstances could my reflections that 
evening as I rode into Columbia have been pleasant ones ; 

3 



34 HOW I ESCAPED. 

or my sleep that night have been the sleep of the happy 
and unconcerned ? 

The closing catastrophe of my courtship was coming 
— I knew it. To reach the climax would take but a little 
time. 

When I rode out to inquire after Arthur's health, Miss 
Belle received me, sometimes with scowls, sometimes 
with ironical remarks, that showed me that I could expect 
nothing from her but open animosity. 

Laura attempted to palliate this and explain it, but even 
as she did so her manner was forced and constrained. 
She was not the open, light-hearted ingenuous girl who 
first became my sweetheart and then my affianced bride. 
There was evidently some secret influence upon her 
mind which was weaning her heart from me. 

In the course of the next two months her brother had 
recovered sufficiently to lounge upon the veranda, the 
light spring air every day giving him greater and greater 
strength, but the empty sleeve in his uniform was a con- 
stant reminder to his sisters of what he had lost : and 
the helplessness of the young man with his right arm 
gone stimulated his family's hatred to the North, which 
fell upon me as its nearest representative. The old 
judge's cordiality of manner gradually left him, his 
answers to my remarks became monosyllables, and Laura 
herself, as she looked at that empty sleeve, seemed to 
grow colder and colder to me, and to show greater cor- 
diality and warmth to Major Walton, who every day rode 
over to inquire how the patient progressed, and to linger 
all day with the young ladies after he had discovered that 
the patient was better, apparently charming them by his 
anecdotes of battle, and of dangers undertaken and 
endured in the defense of their beloved cause. 

In such scenes I, of course, had no part, and Laura 
seemed to take rather a pleasure in innuendoes that 
taunted me for my lack of gallantry in not being a sol- 
dier, such as: " This Columbia of ours cannot interest you 
much. Major Walton — now that all the men have gone to 
the war " — or—'' Oh! the stay-at-homes ! Were I a man 
like you, Mr. Bryant, I'd fight for some side ! " Such 
remarks she would emphasize with a haughty laugh, 
dwelling a little on the " Mr. Bryant," for she sometimes 
omitted to call me Lawrence at those times. Had I been 



HOW I ESCAPED. 35 

a thorough judge of a woman's heart, or not blinded by 
misery ; after such speeches, I should have known that 
the girl's love was still entirely mine, for then she always 
seemed to apologize for them by her manner, and some- 
times to become even more affectionate than she had 
ever been to me. 

Thus we drifted along, until one day the sword of 
Damocles, which had hung over our engagement by so 
fragile a hair, descended and severed, apparently, the 
love that had bound us together. 

It was a slight incident that brought about the crisis. 

I had been talking with Arthur, who was now conva- 
lescent, but of course entirely disabled for active mili- 
tary service. The young man, who had all through this 
affair been very cordial and friendly to me, was saying 
that he would like, as soon as he was a little stronger, to 
obtain employment on the railroad of which I was one of 
the officers, remarking : '' You, Bryant, know that now 
I've got to use m.y brains for a living, not my hands." 
As he said this, the young fellow gazed at his empty 
sleeve, and a little spasm of agony ran over his face ; 
then, trying to conjure up a grin, he cried : " Pshaw ! 
If I only had left \.\\% feeling of it when I lost it ! — but 
though it's buried up at Fredericksburg, it ached all 
night. That cold Virginia ground must have given it 
the rheumatism.'' 

Feeling for the boy's helplessness, I remarked : " You'll 
soon grow resigned to your loss, Arthur." 

" Perhaps he would," said Miss Belle, who had been 
listening to us, clad in a dark homespun dress, for the 
blockade by this time was beginning to tell upon the 
ladies' costumes down south, "if he had another man to 
take his place." Then she whispered to me : " Major 
Walton goes to the front again to-day. This time I did 
not interrupt his t^te-a-tete with Laura — and the result — ■ 



•ee 



She pointed through a vista of shrubbery, and as I looked 
I gave a start. Walton was evidently taking leave of 
my sweetheart, and this time he seemed in great spirits as 
he mounted his horse. 

What man who loves is not jealous sometimes ? Wal- 
ton left in despair the last time — now he seemed radiant 
Had Laura given him hope ? 



;^6 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Thus working myself into a fit of rage, I walked down 
the avenue toward my fiancee, who was just waving a 
very gracious adieu to the dashing major. 

I can see her now as she looked then, every graceful 
curve in her girlish figure standing out in full relief 
against the clear blue of the April sky ; for the scarcity 
of cloth of all kinds in the South at that time compelled 
even the women of the wealthiest classes to dress as 
economically as possible, and Laura's frock of some home- 
made jean or cotton was entirely without ornamental fluff 
or flounce to destroy the beauty of her exquisite form, 
that combined the graces of the girl with the grander 
beauties of Avomanhood. 

There she stood clad in homespun, a few wild flowers 
upon the bosom of her dress, a slight flush upon her face, 
that gradually became paler as she saw the excited agony 
in mine. 

" You were bidding Major Walton good-by — judging 
by his look, I should presume the parting had been a ten- 
der one," 1 said, with a slight sneer, for these long months 
of trouble had come upon me all at once to make me pas- 
sionate and hasty. 

<' You — you take a very curious tone to me to-day, 
Lawrence," murmured the girl, growing slightly paler. 

" Not more curious than the tones you have taken to 
me ever since your brother returned," answered I, hotly. 

This was by no means diplomatic on my part, as it made 
Laura remember Arthur's sufferings and loss, that had 
gradually made her colder to me as a northern man. 

The color came back in a rush to her cheeks. " You 
do well, Mr. Bryant, to remind me of what has come to 
me and mine from the hands of your friends," she said, 
haughtily. "■ You have made me at last remember what 
my Tove for you made me forget— that I am a southern 
girl." 

Her answer told me of my mistake, but I was despe- 
rately jealous, and sneered : " That remembrance was, I 
presume, assisted by Major Walton ! " 

'' It was ! " 

" Ah ! " 

" It was assisted by every southern man I saw fighting 
for his country— Harry Walton among the rest," she 
returned, haughtily. Then, faltcringly, " Lawrence, I 



HOW I ESCAPED. 37 

have loved — God knows how I've loved — and hoped day 
by day to win you, through your love of me, to our cause 
and our side — that my country would be your country — 
but now," — here she gasped and staggered a little, and 
then, as if filled with some mighty idea that gave her 
courage, she drew herself up, and with a calmness, per- 
haps of despair, uttered : " But now you will not become 
one of us in love for the South — your kindred will never 
be my kindred, and at such a time it is not right that a 
southern girl should wed an enemy of her country ! " 

" You would not say such words if you had ever loved 
me! "cried I, in agony, for I knew my sweetheart was 
going to be mine no more. 

" Ever loved you ? " she faltered. " Ever loved you ? 
What passion do you call it that makes a girl endure the 
jeers of her friends and scoffs of her kindred to cling to 
the man they hate and despise ? Is not that devotion ? 
Is not that true love ? That is what for two years I have 
given to you, Lawrence Bryant. That is what this ring 
has cost me ! " And as she said this, she took my engage- 
ment ring off her finger. 

" My God ! You are going to leave m.e ! " I cried, 

" Yes. It has come at last, Lawrence — at last ! This 
ring is mine no longer ! " and she held it out to me, and 
I trembled, for I knew that Laura Peyton, the girl I still 
loved, was my sweetheart no more. The next moment 
the ring dropped from her faltering hand upon the grass, 
and she fell fainting into Miss Belle's arms, who shrieked 
out at me : 

*' You've broken my sister's heart ! I'll make you fight 
on one side or the other for this, you Yankee ! " And the 
girl shook her fist at me, a perfect picture of rage. 

As I rode away, I took my last look at the house in 
which I left so many pleasant memories. The old judge 
was smoking on the veranda ; the oaks were as green and 
beautiful as ever, but the love — the love of the girl I 
loved — that had left me, and the place looked as desolate 
as the war had made my heart. 



BOOK II. 
How I Fled from Her. 



CHAPTER V. 

A CONFEDERATE DETECTIVE. 



My love was lost to me. What was there to hold me to 
this place, an alien, surrounded by enemies ? I deter- 
mined to leave South Carolina. I remembered Miss 
Belle's threat. If I was to fight I would fight for the 
cause that I loved. I resolved to go north through the 
Confederate lines — at this time a very difficult matter, 
though four routes were open to me. One was to get 
to Wilmington, or some other port, the resort of blockade- 
runners, and so to Nassau ; another, by way of Suffolk 
and Norfolk to the Union lines in Virginia ; a third, to 
go to the coast of South Carolina, and escape by boat to 
some Union war ship off the coast or to the Federal 
troops garrisoning Hilton Head ; the fourth was through 
western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. This 
latter was very hazardous, as there were a great many 
bushwhackers and guerillas all along the route. The 
one to the near sea-coast was not so long, but was well 
guarded by South Carolinians, who were so entirely 
devoted to the southern cause, that I could find no Union 
sympathizers to help me on my way, although in the last 
few months I had known of men escaping by this route. 

After careful deliberation, I determined to go by way 
of Suffolk and Norfolk, as my connection with railroads 
would give me passes and ticket accommodations, per- 
haps, where other people could not get them. Beside 
this, 1 would obtain aid from a secret organization of 
Union men in North Carolina. 



HOW I ESCAPED, 3g 

1 knew I had no time to lose, and made my arrange- 
ments hurriedly. Once only did I hesitate in my course, 
and that was the day after my last interview with Laura, 
at "The Oaks.'' I was walking down the main street 
of Columbia, busied with some of my preparations for 
departure that I was compelled to make in the most 
guarded, careful, and surreptitious manner, when two 
young ladies passed me on horseback. A glance showed 
me that they were the Misses Peyton. Miss Belle gave 
me a haughty, unrecognizing glance. Laura looked at me, 
seemingly about to speak, then faltered, and, apparently 
urged by her sister, rode on. A single word to me, from 
her, I believe, even at that moment, would have held me 
in South Carolina. With my heart in my eyes, I looked 
after the girl I loved as she rode away. Twice Laura 
seemed to hesitate as if she would turn back, each time 
opposed by her sister. Once she nearly made the move- 
ment, but Miss Belle seized her bridle and turned her 
horse once more away from me, apparently saying a few 
hurried words to her. As she did so, I saw Laura's grace- 
ful form, clad in its gray, homespun habit, sway in the 
saddle ; but after that she never attempted to gaze back 
or turn again. I staggered away to my office and there 
found a document that hurried my arrangements for de- 
parture. 

Had I known it, however, I would have found that 
before my sweetheart had ridden a quarter of a mile 
she had, despite her sister's tears, entreaties, and rage, 
deliberately returned along the street, trying in vain to 
find me, to tell me the words for which I longed. 

The document I gazed at was an official order from the 
general commanding the district to report for active 
service in the Confederate army at Charleston within 
seven days. 

Accompanying the command was a letter from my 
friend Bee, on General Beauregard's staff, which ran as 
follows : 

" Headquarters Department S. C, Ga., And Fla., ) 
Charleston, April i, 1863. \ 

" My Dear Bryant : I have just learned the news that you are to 
be ordered to take active service with the Confederacy. As to the 
legality of this order, there can, of course, be no doubt, you having 
remained two years within our borders after the time allowed for the 
departure of aliens. You have probably been pennitted to remain in 



40 HOW I ESCAPED. 

your position as engineer of the South Carolina Railroad because 
the Confederacy needed your services as such. Now, however, 
the 'powers that be' have decided that you become one of us. I 
advise you to make no opposition, as it will only entail trouble and 
danger upon you. Come to Charleston quietly, and if in my power, 
I will see that you get a staff appointment, — something that will not 
compel you to absolutely use your arms against the people I have a 
strong suspicion you regard as your brothers. A word to the wise is 
sufficient, as I know everything will be done to compel your com- 
plete compliance with the order that has been sent you, — your 
friend, Mr. Amos Pierson, having taken an apparently active interest 
in this matter and an army contractor being at present a power in the 
South. Your well-wisher, 

"Stuart Bee." 

The effect of this was simply to hasten my departure from 
Columbia. I completed my preparations, and next morn- 
ing, the 3(;1 day of April, 1863, boarded a train on the 
Charleston, Columbia and Augusta Railroad for Graham, 
N. C, at which point I expected to meet a friend who 
would advise me as to the best way to reach Suffolk. 

In these preparations I was necessarily compelled to 
make a confidant of my valet, the red-headed Caucus. 
This disclosure I made after pledging him to secrecy very 
privately in my office the night before I left. Then 
Caucus surprised me. 

I had supposed him devoted, body and soul, to his 
masters in the South, but he burst out : '' Oh, 'fore de 
Lord, Massa Bryant, if I could get north wid you ! " 

" Go with me ? " 

" Yes. I's longin' to hear de Yankee gunboats fire, dat 
means freedom for dis darky." 

" Why, I had supposed that you loved the Peytons too 
well to wish ever to leave their service." 

" Yas, I lub de Peytons ; dey has been mighty kind to 
me ; but I lub habin* my own way, and doin' nothin' when 
I choose to bettar. Dar's white blood in me, Massa 
Bryant ; look at my head ! De redness of it means dat I's 
a spirit dat '11 fight for bossin' myself. I's named Caucus 
cause I's Caucussion ! " 

" It is impossible for me to take you with me. I could 
never get you through to the Union lines." 

" Don't I know dat ? " returned Caucus. " Haven't I 
thought of dat ! Wouldn't I have gone myself long ago 
if I had reckoned I could fotch dar ! Why is you goin', 
Massa Dryant ? Why you not want de Peytons to know ? 



HOW 1 ESCAPED, 4I 

Has de young missus gwine and gib you de shake? 
Always reckon she vvah powerful gwine on you, sah. 
Mighty sorry to see you leab, sah." 

Caucus would have run on for half the night lamenting 
my departure, and expressing astonishment and wonder, 
had not I cut him short by handing him a letter to the 
railroad company resigning my office in their employ, and 
charging him as he loved my personal safety not to deUvei 
it to the corporation until one week from the time of my 
departure. 

I then spent the remainder of the night completing my 
preparations. I had gradually, during the last few months, 
exchanged all the Confederate money I had for U. S. 
greenbacks, trading these little by little, as time and oc- 
casion permitted, with the Federal prisoners in Columbia. 
As Confederate money had greatly depreciated, and I had 
now over one thousand dollars in greenbacks, I took 
five hundred of this sum, considering that it would be 
sufficient to carry me north. The rest I inclosed in a 
short note to Laura, telling her that I knew from the 
certain poverty coming to all in South Carolina that some 
day or other this money would be of service to her, beg- 
ging her to accept it as a loan from one who would never 
cease to wish to be her friend, and who would never for- 
get that she was the only woman he had loved — who still 
thought her to be the only woman he would ever love. 
This missive I charged young Caucus to give to Miss 
Peyton on the same day he delivered my resignation to 
the railroad company, and for no cause whatsoever to 
deliver either of the messages before the time I had in- 
structed him. 

When I set out on my journey I had with me a 
Colt's revolver and cartridges, my money, the best suit 
of clothes I possessed, and a few cherished mementoes 
of the girl I still loved but left behind me. I had already 
sent a message to a friend of mine in North Carolina 
who was a Union man ; besides this the bond of masonic 
fellowship being also between us, I knew that he would 
never betray me. 

I had no sooner boarded the cars than a great difficulty 
confronted me. My long connection with a leading 
southern railway made me known to nearly all brakemen, 
conductors, and engineers upon the different roads over 



42 HOW I ESCAPED. 

• 

which I traveled, and consequently forbade any attempt 
at traveling under an assumed name unless 1 could 
thoroughly disguise myself. To all inquiries as to my 
destination I replied that I was going on railroad busi- 
r, ess to North Carolina and Virginia. Tliere were several 
Confederate officers on the train, traveling to join their 
various commands, who seemed to look with suspicion 
upon any one dressed in citizen's clothes, but after seeing 
me recognized by the conductor as one of the officers of 
the South Carolina Railroad, their suspicions were lulled. 
The same effect was also produced upon two or three 
army detectives that were upon the train looking out for 
deserters and stragglers from the Confederate ranks. 

Travel at that time in the South was by no means 
pleasant, as the railroads were gradually getting into a 
very dilapidated and unsafe condition from the inability 
of their authorities to provide them with either new iron 
or rolling stock, — nearly all the iron in the Confederacy 
being seized by the Confederate Government for the 
manufacture of cannon and other war material. 

I determined that the railroad business that carried me 
away from Columbia should be the pursuit of some new 
rails for the South Carolina Railroad. 

This point decided, I sat down in the car and rumi- 
nated in that kind of stunned daze that comes upon every 
man after one of those great earthquakes of life that 
tear up and destroy the desires, aims, and social topog- 
raphy of existence. I was flying from the woman who 
had been for three years the one object of my thoughts 
by day, my dreams by night ; not because I did not love 
her, but because 1 feared that if I stayed within reach of 
her, she would allure me to the cause I hated, and make 
me, like herself, ready to fight the people whom I loved. 

At this moment I presume I must have given a sigh or 
groan, or something of the kind, for a peculiar, twangy, 
nasal North Carolina voice broke in on my reverie, say- 
ing : *' You don't look 'ticular spunky this morning, Mr. 
Bryant. Can't you move your head a little so I can git a 
square spit through the keer window ? " 

I moved my head, and recognized Pete Bassett, a 
government detective, who had been about our railroad 
yards for the last few we^.ks looking after the Federal 
prisoners of war that were at this time arriving in large 



HOW I ESCAPED. 43 

numbers from the North for confinement in the stockade 
near the town. 

Mr. Bassett seemed inclined to be chatty. Unheeding 
my apparent disincHnation for conversation, he insisted 
on telling me of the various escaped Federal prisoners he 
had assisted in recapturing, punctuating his anecdotes 
by squirts of tobacco juice that he delivered with the 
precision of a marksman at the telegraph poles that we 
ran past. 

He invited me to drink at every station. Do what I 
could he seemed to be at my elbow. His very cordiality 
seemed to me suspicious. I became convinced that foi 
some reason or other his gray eyes, reddened by bad 
whisky, were always on me, and that he had a particular 
interest in my movements. I determined to test this. 

At the next stopping place I knew that the train ran 
up the track to a water tank and then returned to the sta- 
tion before proceeding on its way. 

I jumped off the cars as we ran slowly past the place, 
and to my disgust Bassett sprang off also. 

" What did you bolt the train for, Mr. Bryant ? " he 
asked. 

" Why, to stretch my legs," I replied. " It's only going 
for water and '11 be back in five minutes. What made 
you jump it also ? " 

" Wall — for — for about the same objict," he muttered. 
" You see I reckoned you knew the customs of your road, 
and wouldn't be after being left yourself. I calculated 
your lead was a good one to follow. — Have another pull 
at my corn juice ? " 

" No, thank you I " remarked I. 

A few moments afterward the tram returned, but I 
boarded it with a sinking heart. I knew Pete Bassett, one 
of the coolest sleuth-hounds in the Confederacy, was 
on my trail — that my attempt to gain the Union lines 
was being shadowed. 

After running off the track once, and being detained 
several hours, we arrived at Charlotte, where I had to wait 
two hours before resuming my journey. 

In this place I expected to meet no one to help me ; 
but at Graham I anticipated seeing my Union friend. 

I therefore acted in such a manner at Charlotte, as 
would throw Bassett off his guard at Graham. 



44 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Immediately on my arriving in Charlotte I went about 
looking apparently for a friend at the depot, though I 
expected to meet no one. I then wandered about the 
town, up one street and down another, all the time con- 
scious that I was dogged by Mr. Bassett. After doing 
this apparently without an object, which was exactly 
what I would in Graham a few hours after with an ob- 
ject, I returned to the hotel, casually met my pursuer, 
and asked him to drink with me, saying I'd been kill- 
ing time looking about the town, but had not seen a soul 
I knew, all the men being at the war, and I not much 
of a hand at making friends with ladies. 

I then boarded the train, Mr. Bassett accompanying 
me, and reached Graham at three o'clock in the after- 
noon. 

Here, telling Bassett I would lay over for the night, 
being tired of the continual jolting of the train on the 
bad track, I wandered about the railroad depot. Good- 
shaw, the Union friend of mine, was there to meet me, 
but I passed him with an unknowing glance and a mut- 
tered " To-night." 

He in these suspicious times being of quick wit, said 
nothing, but boarded the train as if looking for the ar- 
rival of some one else. 

I was sure Bassett suspected nothing, and my wander- 
ing about Charlotte had made him careless in his watch 
on me. 

After a little time in the depot, I went to the hotel, de- 
posited my carpet-bag there, took an apparently aimless 
walk about the village, as I had done in Charlotte, taking 
care to pass the house of George Goodshaw, and note 
that the window blinds were tied with red, white and 
blue cords — a signal among the Union men of that part 
of North Carolina that the house could be visited in 
safety. 

Satisfied in this, I continued my ramble, finally reach- 
ing the hotel, taking supper with Mr. Bassett, and after- 
ward playing euchre with him for the drinks. Losing 
most of the games, I got disgusted at my hard luck and 
went to bed, Bassett doing the same. 

Half an hour afterward I sneaked from my room in the 
hotel. As I opened the door I heard a noise like the 
banging of a boot a little farther akmgthe passage way in 



HOW I ESCAPED. 45 

the chamber I knew to be occupied by Bassett, and on 
looking, by the dim light of the hall, found a string run- 
ning from the knob of my door in that direction. In a 
flash I knew the detective was on the alert. I ran down 
the stairs as quietly but as rapidly as possible, and in a 
moment was in the open air. I could hear Bassett's feet 
on the stairs in pursuit. As I did so, the whistle of an 
incoming train sounded in the still night air, I knew the 
time-table of the road. It was the night express bound 
north. 

As if by instinct I turned and ran toward the depot, 
and as I ran I thought Bassett's steps sounded but 
fifty yards behind mine. I would make him think I took 
that train ; if he boarded it. I should then be free to con- 
sult with my friend unmolested. I gained the depot, and 
took care that he saw me enter it, then jumped on 
the platform of one of the cars, passed through it, de- 
scended leisurely on the other side, and strolled into the 
darkness. I remained in the gloom of an old woodshed, 
and could discern by the dim light of the station Bassett 
searching for me on the train. The whistle blew, the 
wheels revolved, and the detective, sure that I was 
on it, rolled off northward to Raleigh. I was alone in 
Graham. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE PROVOST MARSHAL. 

A FEW minutes afterward I found myself at Good- 
shaw's grasping his hospitable hand. His cheery voice 
said : " Well, getting out of the woods at last, Jkyant ? 
I would do the same, but I have a family, and that ties 
me here." 

We consulted eagerly as to the, best routes to take 
for my escape. The eastern portion of the State was 
considered dangerous on account of guerilla warfare. 
I might make my way either by the Cape Fear or Neuse 
river in a boat, to the Federal war-ships. Some had 
escaped that way guided by negroes in the night from one 
point of the river to another, the blacks always proving 
entirely reliable guides, and no instance being known of 



46 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

their ever having betrayed any Union men who had trusted 
in them. But to this route there was a serious objection 
because the terminal points were too far from the Federal 
lines. If I reached Newberne by the coast I would then 
have to travel north through dismal swamps, before 
reaching the Federal gunboats, and the people about this 
portion of the country were so entirely in sympathy with 
the Confederate cause, that from them I could expect no 
aid. 

Upon hearing of the difficulties attending a journey 
upon these routes, I determined to attempt to make my 
way out of the Confederate lines by Suffolk and Norfolk, 
going via Weldon on the Seaboard and Roanoke Rail- 
road. Then I explained to Goodshaw the pursuit of 
Bassett. He looked very serious at this, but said : " The 
detective is one train ahead of you. Let us hope that 
he will go beyond the point at which you must leave the 
railroad." 

Next morning, as I paid my hotel bill, the proprietor 
asked me if I knew the name of the thief who had run 
away in the night without paying his bill. 

The train soon took me to Raleigh, where I received 
further assistance from another friend. Fortunately this 
gentleman was on very good terms with the provost mar- 
shal at Raleigh, and introduced me to him, and he, recog- 
nizing me as one of the officers of the South Carolina 
Railway, kindly gave me a pass to Richmond, I telling 
him I was going there to attempt to induce the Confed- 
erate Government to permit us to have some new rails, in 
order to repair our road, which was now in quite an unser- 
viceable condition. 

As this was almost a military duty for the service of 
the Confederacy, I not only got a passport, but was invited 
by the provost marshal to dinner. 

As every day added to the danger of my being' sus- 
pected and arrested, because the moment I did not report 
at Charleston according to orders from the Confeder- 
ate Government, I would be considered as a deserter, I 
declined the provost marshal's dinner, and arrived at 
Goldsboro next morning, Monday. This place was under 
strict martial law. 

I found out that a man in citizen's costume was a very 
rare sight, in this part of the Confederacy, and that he was 



HOW I ESCAPED. 47 

always regarded with more or less suspicion. Many offi- 
cers would immediately demand his passport. Fortu- 
nately mine was of the right kind. 

Here, while in the depot preparatory to taking the train 
for Weldon, two curious incidents took place that changed 
the whole form of my attempt to escape. 

I had hardly been in the depot a moment before, to 
my dismay, I met my friend Mr. Bassett. 

He gave me a very surly scowl and growled, " I was 
coming back looking for you. That was a mighty mean 
trick you played on me at Graham t'other night. I 
have been 'way up to Weldon, reckoning you was on the 
keers with me." 

" Trick ? " replied I. " What trick ? I should rather 
think it was a trick that you played on the hotel-keeper, 
running off in the middle of the night and not paying 
your board bill. He is looking for you, also." 

" That kind of talk won't do," said Bassett, savagely. 
" I have got instructions to look out for you, and I have 
a mind to arrest you at once ! " 

The only way with this man was to dominate and crush 
him. 

My passport made me bold. I said : " Arrest me if 
you dare ! You will soon find yourself in jail if you try 
it. Have you got a warrant ? " 

" No," he said, "but I have got instrtcctions !'' 

" Very well," replied I. " You disturb me in my busi- 
ness, and I will have you pulled over the coals at Rich- 
mond in a way that will astonish you. Look at this pass- 
port ! " 

I poked in his face the one issued by the provost 
marshal at Raleigh. The sight of it made him gasp with 
astonishment. 

" Do you see this ? " said I. " This is a permit to go 
to Richmond on military business of importance to the 
Confederate Go^'ernment ! You dare to disturb me, and I 
don't know what a court-martial will do with you ! " 

" No," he muttered, " I would not dare lay a hand on 
the man with that passport," for this " business of import- 
ance to the Confederate Government " cowed and aston- 
ished him. " But all the same," said he, " I will go to 
Richmond with you to see that you execute it ! Busi- 
ness of importance to the Confederate Government ? " 



48 HOW I ESCAPED. 

muttered he, moving away. " Don't forgit, I'll be on the 
train with you, Mr. Bryant, but as she won't roll out for 
about fifteen minutes, I'll fill my bottle with corn juice 
for the journey." With that Bassett walked off through 
the depot, about as completely crushed a detective as I 
ever saw. 

I was meditating upon Mr. Bassett's kindness about 
going to Richmond with me, to be sure that I executed 
that " business of importance to the Confederate Gov- 
ernment," when the telegraph clerk hurriedly cried out 
very excitedly to the people in the depot : " Great news 
from Longstreet ! He has driven the Yanks back on 
Norfolk ! " 

The remarks I heard from the people about me con- 
vinced me that I would have little chance of escaping 
from Suffolk county into the Federal lines. Longstreet 
had so advanced his lines by driving the Union troops 
back, that my journey would be considerably lengthened 
and its dangers and difficulties materially heightened. 
With Mr. Bassett waiting to board the same train I did, 
I felt that, should I leave the cars at Weldon, as I 
intended, he would follow me. Under these circum- 
stances, without a passport through Longstreet's lines, 
my escape would be impossible. 

As I meditated, a special train bound south ran sud- 
denly into the station. At all events, I must put Mr. 
Bassett off my track. The train for the south attracted 
my attention. Bassett, I knew, had made up his mind I 
was going north. A sudden thought, almost an inspira- 
tion, flashed through my brain. The conductor of the 
train for the south cried " All aboard ! " 

Its wheels commenced to re olve, I hurriedly crossed 
the platform, and mounted the last of its moving cars. 
We ran out of the station. I felt certain I had accom- 
plished my object. The detective was left behind 
me. With a sigh of relief I passed into one of the cars, 
which was poorly furnished, worn out and dilapidated, as 
were all railroad cars in the Confederacy at that time. 
There was a heterogeneous mass of people in this car, 
among them three or four red-faced men who were talk- 
ing loudly, and smoking such cigars as I had not seen for 
years— evidently genuine Havanas. 

They were apparently seafaring men. I listened to 



HOW I ESCAPED. 49 

their conversation, and discovered that they were captains 
of blockade-runners whose vessels were at Wilmington, 
and who had run up to Richmond on a pleasure trip while 
their ships were discharging their cargoes and taking 
in cotton. One of them, a burly, jovial, good-natured 
Briton, called by his companions Captain Samson, was 
telling some anecdotes connected with his profession that 
moved his listeners to shrieks of laughter. Even with 
the excitement and peculiar difficulties of my situation 
about me, one of them has to this day impressed itself 
upon my mind. 

" You see," remarked Samson, " the Yankee govern- 
ment had to get so many new officers and sailors into its 
service to keep up this blockade that is making our fort- 
unes, that a number of old merchant captains received 
appointments as lieutenants and masters in the regular 
United States Navy, — among them an absent-minded 
New England skipper named Eph Starbuck, who had 
been the last twenty years captain of the Mary Jane, 
a Boston coastc that ran regularly to Charleston, South 
Carolina. He was placed as lieutenant on board a gun- 
boat bound to that port because he was supposed to know 
every channel and outlet from Charleston as well as a 
local pilot. 

"Well, one night he was officer of the watch on his 
little gun-boat looking out for blockade-runners, when 
suddenly he heard a hail from another Federal cruiser — 
' Ship ahoy ! ' 

" ' Ahoy, there ! ' answered Starbuck. 

" ' What ship is that ? ' 

" ' Mary Jane for Charleston, with general merchan- 
dise ! ' growled Starbuck from force of habit. 

" The next minute his gun-boat was boarded and cap- 
tured by the Federal cruiser, who of course thought she 
was a blockade-runner ! It is rumored that Starbuck who 
was half asleep at the time had forgotten all about the 
war, and as his Federal friends boarded him, yelled out, 
' Pirates ! ' " 

A moment after, the entrance of the conductor stopped 
my laughter, and forced my mind to m.y own situation. I 
did not know even where the train was bound — 1 must 
find that out immediately, I was going away from Rich- 
mond; consequently my passport was now useless. 
4 



5© HOW I ESCAPED. 

" You are bound for your vessel, I suppose," I said, 
touching the arm of the red-faced Briton. 

*'Yes, sir, to Wilmington. We go down the river to- 
day." Then I knew the train must be for Wilmington. 
The conductor was rapidly approaching me. I knew that 
in the absence of a ticket which I had failed to purchase, 
he would demand a passport. I had none and I felt 
that I could not obtain one. 

As he approached me, with an effrontery born of the 
desperate nature of my situation I said : " Conductor, 
can you give me the directions to the provost marshal's 
office at Wilmington ? " 

*'Certamly," he replied giving me the address. 

'' Thank you," said I. " Can't you go with me and show 
me the place when the train gets there, as I have never 
been in the city before ? " 

" Of course I can," said the conductor. "Your pass- 
port?" 

" I haven't got any. You can go with me to the provost 
marshal's office. 1 left hurriedly on immediate business. 
I have to go to Nassau to obtain iron for the railroad of 
which I am engineer. Here is my card." 

" Ah, Mr. Bryant, I know you very well by reputa- 
tion," replied the conductor, " and I believe I have 
passed over your line under a pass signed by you." 

I tendered him my fare. 

"Oh, no. Not from a railroad man in your position." 

I remarked that I had not had time to obtain a pass- 
port, as it was necessary for us to have the iron at once. 

" Yes, the rails are in bad condition. I wish you could 
buy some for our road while you are getting your own. 
Gracious ! that was a thundering jolt ! " remarked the 
conductor as we rolled over a dilapidated rail. 

This official's apparent knowledge of me seemed to dis- 
pel any suspicion which my civilian dress had caused 
among the passengers of the train. 

I entered into conversation with the captains of the 
blockade-runners, and soon obtained all the information 
that I wished with regard to taking passage for Nassau. 

"You had better come on my boat, the Dart," said 
Samson. " We leave to-day at two. I have made three 
successful in-and-out trips already, so you are pretty cer- 
tain of not being captured." 



HOW I ESCAPED. 5I 

** No," I replied, " I shall hardly be able to leave im- 
mediately." 

But at that very moment my mind was made up, 
whether he knew it or not, to be a passenger on Cap- 
tain Samson's steamer. The details I received with re- 
gard to passengers upon a blockade-runner were all very 
satisfactory, except this one, which made a great imj^-es- 
sion on me at the time, and a much stronger one soon 
afterward. Each vessel, before she was permitted to go 
down the river, was smoked and poled for stowaways 
fleeing from Confederate jurisdiction or military service. 
This operation was explained to me at length, and was as 
follows : The blockade-runners being invariably loaded 
with cotton, stowaways were compelled to conceal them- 
selves among the bales. To prevent this, all interstices 
between the bales upon the upper deck were thoroughly 
explored by long, sharp poles, so that if the fugitive had 
any feelings whatever his cries generally made his pres- 
ence known to the Confederate soldiers ; but as the pol- 
ing was not always as successful in the hold of the ves- 
sel, after the cotton had been probed as well as it was 
possible to do it, the hatches of the boat were shut down 
and the hold was thoroughly fumigated by dense smoke 
from burning rosin, which, as the captain remarked, if it 
didn't bring out the skulker, generally killed him. 

" I brought two corpses into Nassau last time," re- 
marked the skipper, sententiously, with a jovial, kind- 
hearted laugh that sent a shudder through me. 

The distance between Goldsboro and Wilmington by 
rail in those days was about seventy miles ; but such 
was the wretched state of the road-bed that our train 
took nearly five hours to make the run. In fact, a 
hand-car could have almost made the trip in the same 
time. I had ample evidence of the fact a little later. 

Arrived in Wilmington, I stepped off the cars before 
they had ceased their motion, and sneltering myself behind 
one of the numerous cotton bales piled up by the side of 
the railroad track, scanned the faces of the passengers as 
they descended from the train. After close scrutiny I 
gave 0. sigh of relief. I was now entirely sure that Bas- 
sett was separated from me for the present. 

I had determined upon a plan while on my journey to 
Wilmington. I got hold of the conductor and he took 



52 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

me to the provost marshal's office. I asked to see the 
officer in command, and after a few moments was shown 
in to that gentleman. I found him to be a pale, sallow 
captain of Louisiana volunteers, with piercing black 
eyes, a jet black moustache and a rather comical, but 
decidedly sharp smile. He had lost a leg at Malvern 
Hilly was dressed in fatigue Confederate uniform and 
was smoking an excellent Havana cigar which had been 
presented to him by some of his friends, the captains of 
blockade-runners, who found it well to be on good terms 
with the provost marshal of the port to which their ves- 
sels ran. He answered to the name of Captain Du- 
quesne, and his smile might be said to be at high tide 
when I came in. He was hurriedly giving directions to 
a sergeant in attendance as to the disposal of three 
or four refugees that had been discovered on board a 
blockade-runner that day by the unpleasant yet effect- 
ive process called " probing and smoking." 

This was by no means reassuring to me, but I opened 
my business with as off-hand and take-it-for-granted a 
manner as possible. 

"I have come," said I, " as chief engineer of the 
South Carolina Railway to obtain from you a pass to 
leave the Confederacy and visit Nassau upon a blockade- 
runner in order to make a contract with English capital- 
ists to furnish railroad iron for the road of which 1 am 
an officer." 

" Your name ? " asked the captain. 

I presented my card, fortunately having one or two 
yet in my possession. 

"Ah, Mr. Bryant," he said smiling, ''permit me to in- 
troduce myself. Captain Duquesne, tenth Louisiana Vol- 
unteers, C. S. A., Acting Provost Marshal, Wilmington, 
N. C, and to present you with a cigar," 

I accepted the cigar, and, ye gods ! how I enjoyed it ! — 
the first genuine Havana I had smoked for over two 
years. 

''You have a pass, T presume, Mr. Bryant?'' said the 
captain between the whiffs of his-Cabafia. 

I bowed and presented mine. 

" Ah," he remarked, looking rather suspicious ; -' this 
is to Richmond, not Wilmington." 

''I was on my way to Richmond," I replied, ''but 



HOW I ESCAPED. 53 

found when I reached Goldsboro that it would be im- 
possible to obtain railroad iron in Richmond, as the Con- 
federate authorities need every scrap in their possession 
for war purposes. Consequently I took the other and 
only plan. The railroad I represent has been of the 
greatest use to the Confederacy in forwarding supplies, 
war material, and men for the government at Richmond. 
You know that ! " 

" Certainly ! " 

" It has not had a new rail laid down upon it for over 
two years. If new iron is not placed upon some portions 
of its road-bed it will be unable to perform the work your 
government requires of it. It is absolutely necessary 
that we should have at least three thousand tons of new 
rails almost immediately. The only hope I have of ob- 
taining them is by buying them in England, and for that 
purpose it is necessary for me, in order to get them 
quickly, to proceed at once to Nassau." 

" How will you buy them in England ? " asked the 
captain, 

" The road I represent has accumulated a large amount 
of cotton for that purpose, which it will ship out of the 
Confederacy by blockade-runners to pay for the iron for- 
warded to us from England." 

'' Ah ! " said the captain, a smile illuminating his coun- 
tenance as he did a little rapid figuring upon a piece of 
coarse brown paper in front of him, " iron rails would be 
worth — about fifty cents per pound laid down in Wil- 
mington by blockade-runners, three thousand tons would 
cost one million five hundred thousand dollars. For this 
you would have to pay in cotton, worth on the wharves 
at Wilmington five cents per pound, which would be 
about thirty million pounds — sixty thousand bales. What 
a cursed lot of cotton your railroad must have, and what 
an awful lot of blockade-runners it will require to carry 
it out ! " 

" We haven't quite that much on hand," replied I, " but 
will have it by the time it is necessary to make deliveries. 
I shall contract, however, for such iron as we can pay for. 
Even one thousand tons of new rails would be of some 
advantage to us." 

" Certainly, but not a great deal, for so long a track as 
yours, judging by the state of the road-beds about here. 



54 HOW I ESCAPED. , 

You see, my dear Mr. Bryant, I was educated at West 
Point, and graduated into the engineers." Here he gave 
me another smile. 

I cursed my luck at having run against an engineer 
officer as provost marshal. 

" You won't grant me the pass ? " I asked. 

" I will telegraph to the authorities at Columbia, and 
if your journey is approved, will issue the pass to-mor- 
row. Take another cigar, and enjoy Wilmington," and 
Duquesne bowed me out of his office. Without waiting to 
argue further upon the matter, I immediately left, know- 
ing I was doomed the minute a telegraphic reply from 
Columbia reached the provost marshal. My heart felt as 
heavy as if the irons were even now upon my wrists. At 
the most I had but three or four hours' liberty. 

I wandered about in an aimless way, hardly knowing 
where I went. By some fatality I found myself at the 
railroad depot gazing in a dreamy manner at the freight 
trains, that were bringing in load after load of cotton. I 
had done this but a few moments, when I gave a start ; 
my mind, roused by an electric shock, resumed its func- 
tions. 

The electric shock was a hand-car coming with all its 
speed into the station, propelled by eight stalwart negroes 
reeking with perspiration, and on that car, calmly chew- 
ing his usual cud of tobacco, Mr. Peter Bassett. Fort- 
unately he did not see me. I sneaked away among the 
cotton-bales, and knew that I had hardly fifteen minutes 
more of freedom. The moment the detective reported 
to the provost marshal, orders would be issued for my 
arrest. 



CHAPTER Vn. 



THE BLOCKADE-RUNNER. 



As I hurried from the depot, my eyes fell upon the rail- 
road clock. Its hands made the time fifteen minutes of 
two. 

A sudden thought flashed through my mind. Captain 
Samson, the burly British commander of the Dart, had 



HOW I ESCAPED. 55 

said his vessel would leave at two o'clock in the day, and 
drop down the river to Fort Fisher, from there that even- 
ing to make the attempt to run through the Federal 
blockading squadron, I determined to take the chance 
of leaving the Confederacy without a pass on the Dart. 
I hurried to the levee, which was probably at that time 
the busiest point in the whole Southern States. Numer- 
ous blockade-runners were discharging cargoes of mis- 
cellaneous manufactures, guns, ammunition and material 
of war for the Confederacy, while others were being 
loaded to their gunwales with bale upon bale of cotton, 
to give labor to the starving spinners of Manchester. 
The more a boat looked like a mountain of cotton, the 
nearer she was ready to sail. 

I saw a sharp, rakish-looking craft of about four hun- 
dred tons, of a dull, leaden color from the top of her low 
smoke-stack to her water line, her deck piled with at 
least two tiers of cotton bales, and read upon her stern 
'' Dartr 

A number of negro stevedores were employed putting 
on board a few extra bales that were generally considered 
the perquisites of the officers of the ship. The boat was 
evidently almost ready to leave. One of these negro 
stevedores came around a large pile of cotton bales, evi- 
dently in search of something. It was his pipe which he 
had forgotten. 

As he picked up the pipe, I touched him on the shoul- 
der and held out a one-hundred-dollar greenback. The 
darkey's eyes rolled, his lips watered, for one hundred 
dollars in greenbacks meant a great deal more than one 
thousand in Confederate money. 

I said : '' Conceal me on board that vessel, and this is 
yours." 

The darkey, who was a man of herculean build, shook 
his head, and said : " I'd like de hundred, Massa, but de 
job ain't possible." 

He and a companion who had joined him stooped to 
lift another bale of cotton, when, with an inspiration 
born of desperation, I whispered, " The job is possible ! 
Put me inside of that bale ; then you can carry me on 
board." 

" Golly ! " said the first darkey, and " Holy Moses ! " 
said the second. 



56 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" One hundred dollars, and put me in that bale ! " re- 
peated I. 

" You'se got to make it two fifties, massa, and we'll 
do it. We won't neber dar change a hundred-dollar bill. 
Dat throw 'spicion on us to once." 

I hurriedly sought in my pocket-book and produced 
the required denominations, while with a celerity that 
astonished me the two stevedores ripped up the bale of 
cotton, and tore out enough of it to permit my con- 
cealment. Giving them the money, I found myself nearly 
smothered in the white fleece that gave to the South the 
sinews of war with which it fought so desperately for 
four years. 

Whispering to me that they would stow the bale in a 
place from which I could get out, the two negroes picked 
me up and after a few moments' rapid motion, I judged 
from the bale being put down again that I was on board 
the Dart Before leaving me, one of the darkeys cut 
the bands that confined the bale and pulled me out of it. 

I found myself in a space not over a foot high be- 
tween the top of the cargo in the hold and the lower 
deck. An angle made by a beam left space enough be- 
tween the cargo and the ship to receive my body. Into 
this I was unceremoniously hustledby the stevedore, who 
made me very uncomfortable by this remark as he de- 
parted : 

" Seems to me dis beam may sabe you from de probin' 
an' pokin', but, fo' de Lord, when it comes to de smokin', 
I pities you Massa Runaway." 

I had not much time to meditate upon the ominous 
significance of the stevedore's words, fori soon heard the 
throbbing of the engine and the revolutions of the twin 
screws by which the vessel was propelled, and knew that 
she must be under way. My heart gave a jump of joy. 
I had escaped the poking and smoking ! 

The vessel had hardly been in motion a quarter of an 
hour, when I could hear the captain replying to a hail, 
apparently from a patrol boat. The engines stopped, 
and a minute after Samson's hearty English voice ex- 
claimed : " So you have come on board, as usual, to do 
your searching and smoking ? This is the third success- 
ful trip I have made, and you never omit it, though you 
have not found any contrabands on board yet." 



HOW I ESCAPED. 57 

At this remark, my spirits, which had been buoyant 
ever since the vessel left Wilmington, left mc, and my 
heart began to beat with a nervous flutter. We were to 
be searched and smc ked ! 

This was at present an unknown horror. A few mo- 
ments later it became a real one. After a minute or so, 
a little light came into my place of imprisonment. The 
hatches had evidently been opened. I heard voices, and 
the searching began. 

It was impossible for the Confederate soldiers to move 
about the cargo, that was packed so tightly ; but by 
means of long poles, which they forced through the 
crevices between the bales of cotton, they explored every 
part of the vessel pretty thoroughly, and had it not been 
for the protecting beam of the vessel behind which I had 
taken refuge, my body would have been such a mass of 
bruises and wounds that I should probably have cried 
out from very pain. As it was, I rather laughed Lt the 
efforts of my enemies to bring me from my place of 
concealment. 

While the guard were doing this, the captain jeered 
at them. " Didn't I tell you there wasn't any refugees 
on board my vessel ! Poke away, but don't keep me so 
I'll lose the tide and can't get out through the Yankee 
blockaders to-night." 

" All right ! " said the officer in command of the 
guard-boat. ** We'll give your hold a good half-hour's 
smoke, and if that doesn't bring any one, we'll let you go 
down the river." 

The hatches were put on again, and I could hear the 
men going up on deck. As the light was cut off by 
the closed hatchways, a vile, suffocating, unendurable 
odor of smoking rosin and tar came to my nostrils. This 
grew denser and denser, until every breath that I drew 
seemed to contain no oxygen but all smoke. The per- 
spiration came from every pore of my body. A black 
soot settled upon me and filled my nostrils. I could 
feel my eyes grow large in their sockets. Racking pains 
shot through my head and back. I was too feeble to cry 
out, or I should have screamed for deliverance. Faint- 
ing, I sank down in my place of concealment. I was 
almost asphyxiated ! Suddenly, as my head became 
lower, I felt a cold current of air fanning my cheek. 



58 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Greedily as a starving man seizes food did I inhale this. 
It was the breath of life, and issued from a small aperture 
in an iron rod that came down and fitted into a socket 
in the deck. Instead of being solid, this was, for greater 
lightness, in the form of a tube. A portion of this tube 
had been broken away, which left free communication 
with the upper air above. I glued my mouth to the aper- 
ture, and once more began to live. I could defy not 
only the searching, but the smoking of my enemies. 

I lay there and sucked in the invigorating air from 
above, while around me, for the next fifteen minutes, 
was an atmosphere of soot and smoke in which no man 
could have lived. After a time the hatches were re- 
opened. No cries having been heard, and no one having 
crawled out to surrender himself, the guard-boat de- 
parted. I made myself as comfortable as circumstances 
would permit, and about two hours afterward the boat 
stopped again and anchored behind Fort Fisher. I knew 
that it must become dark night, and that consequently 
several hours must elapse, before the boat would venture 
to leave the protection of the Confederate guns. 

To my astonishment it seemed to me hardly an hour 
before the vessel's engines were again in motion. She 
was moving through the water once more. 

What was the meaning of this — it could not be possi- 
ble the captain would dare to run his vessel through the 
blockading squadron in open daylight? She must, for 
some unknown reason, be returning to Wilmington I 

As this horrid thought ran through me, I gave a gasp 
of despair, but after a moment became calmer and de- 
termined to find out. Anything was better than suspense. 

I began to crawl through, or rather over the cotton to- 
ward the hatchway. A little light coming from it, as it 
had not been carefully closed, guided my movements. 
After half an hour's desperate battle with the cotton bales, 
squeezing between them and the deck, I arrived at the 
hatchway. Looking up I became convinced it was really 
daylight. I consulted my watch. It showed the hour 
of 5 P.M. 

What unforeseen thing had happened ? That I must 
discover. Cautiously I forced the hatchway further off, 
and, standing on the cotton bales below, squeezed myself 
through upon the lower deck. 



HOW I ESCAPED, 59 

There was no one here to discover me. After making 
sure of that, I carefully ascended the ladder, and, peering 
out upon the upper deck, saw, as well as I was able for 
the surrounding bales of cotton, that there was something 
white and fleecy in the air about me. For a moment I 
thought the ship must be on fire and deserted by her crew. 
Next, my eyes being blinded by the light after the inky 
blackness of the vessel's hold, I imagined that it was flakes 
of cotton liberated from their bales in some unknown 
manner, floating about me. A few moments after I gave 
a gasp of astonishment and joy — my eyes had resumed 
their functions. I saw what was really taking place. 

In a dense, heavy white ocean fog, the blockade-run- 
ner was boldly attempting to run unseen through the 
Federal squadron that barred her passage to the open 
sea. 

Whether the blockade-runner escaped or was captured 
by the United States vessels, I was out of the Confeder- 
acy in any event ! 

I staggered upon the deck feeling once more a free 
man. The crew were all at their places. The captain 
near the pilot, who stood at the wheel, bringing two small 
lights that were placed upon the beach half a mile away 
into a line, or what is nautically termed '' into one." 

When this was done, we were in the true channel lead- 
ing to the ocean. 

The second officer saw me, and silently supported me 
to where the captain was. That gentleman regarded me 
for a moment and whispered : " Give him 'something to 
drink. The poor devil's dying. He looks like a smoked 
herring. Haven't time to attend to him now ! " and then 
gazed with the pilot anxiously out to sea. 

My appearance justified the skipper's words. I was 
covered with black soot that made me look almost a 
negro. My mouth was parched with the heat of the 
lower hold ; my tongue hung out of it bronzed by thirst ; 
my body was fainting with weakness. I could only gasp, 
"Water!" 

It was given me. I revived and became hungry. The 
cook took compassion on me, and gave me some hard 
tack and meat. I sat upon the deck, silently munching' 
this and regaining my strength. As I ate, I watched the 
picture before me with intense eagerness. The vessel 



6o HOW I ESCAPED, 

was making her way slowly from under the guns of Fort 
Fisher into the circle of Federal blockading vessels that 
were presumed to lie just out of the range of the Con- 
federate artillery. I say presumed to lie, because the 
fog was so dense that not one of them could be seen. 
Through this fog the boat glided, her deck as silent as if 
she were manned by the dead, though every sailor of the 
crew was on the alert, and every motion showed intense 
excitement. 

The pilot and captain were at the wheel, and the direc- 
tions were given to the engineer in whisper through a 
speaking tube ; the sounding of the bell might indicate 
our whereabouts to some neighboring Federal cruiser. 

Though it was only five o'clock in the afternoon, this 
fog was as good a protection, if not abetter, than the dark- 
ness of night. As I stood leaning against a cotton bale, 
my nerves seemed to be more powerful than those of 
ordinary men, my excitement was so great, I caught 
a motion of the second ofificer of the vessel, who stood 
near me. 

He went forward silently to the captain and touched 
his arm, and looking through the mist, I saw a light glim- 
mering in the fog about a hundred yards away. 

The captain muttered, as the second ofificer pointed 
this out to him: "The light of a Yankee flag-ship. She 
has to keep a light, as she is at anchor. Some of the 
cruisers might run into her." 

We passed the light. Receiving no hail, and hearing no 
commotion on her decks, I gave a sigh of relief, which 
the captain echoed. But not a minute after this my 
heart gave a jump. There was a whizzing sound 
through the air ; for a moment I thought that it must be 
a shot, but looking into the heavens, 1 saw the fiery tail 
of a rocket fly through the mist. 

"Curse her!" growled the captain; ''she suspects 
something, and has sent up a signal. There will be a 
lot of them around here and around us in a few min- 
utes ! " 

With that he whispered something down the speaking- 
tube to the engine-room. The vessel seemed suddenly 
to double her speed and fly through the white, thick 
clouds of vapor that were around her. But now, to the 
horror of every one on board, this vapor, as we sped 



HOW I ESCAPED. 6l 

along, seemed to grow lighter and lighter, and the captain 
muttered to himself : " My God ! the fog is rising ! " 

Then the pilot grew pale, and whispered : " There is a 
very good chance of our being captured this trip." 

The captain muttered, *I have made three in-and-out 

runs this year, and d d if I will be captured this trip, 

or any other ! " 

As for me, my heart was as light as the dancing waves 
through which we rode. If captured, I would be sent 
north; and if we reached Nassau, I could take a vessel for 
New York. I was out of the Confederacy, that was 
certain ! 

My joy was so great that it was impossible to keep it 
out of my face, and the second officer as he passed gave 

me a scowl, and said : " What are you looking so d d 

happy for ? " 

As for the captain, he seemed to be thinking deeply, 
and turning some plan for escape over in his brain. 

The vessel continued her speed. Suddenly a low, 
dusky outline appeared in the mist upon the port side 
of us. Both the captain and pilot gave a start, and 
grasped the handles of the wheel more firmly. The next 
instant a cry of the second officer and a wave of his hand 
caused me to look to starboard. Another low, dark out- 
line could be seen upon that side of us. Both, however, 
were a little forward of us— one upon our port, and the 
other upon our starboard bow. " Two cursed Yankee 
cruisers ! " muttered the second officer. 

The next instant thunder apparently broke into the 
mist. The lightning flashed, and the thunderbolts seemed 
to fly through the air. 

The English captain gave a low chuckle, and said : 

*' D n them, those two Yankee beggars are peppering 

each other ! " (for not a shot came near us). " Now they 
will be so occupied they won't notice me." 

He whispered something to the engine-room, turned 
a few spokes of the wheel, and the little blockade-runner 
seemed -to revolve upon her axis and return over the 
path by which she had come. 

"What are you doing ?" gasped I. 

"Going back to Fort Fisher as quick as we can," mut- 
tered the second officer. " We will try it again to-night ! " 

These words almost made my heart stop still. Going 



62 HOW I ESCAPED. 

back to Fort Fisher ! Going back to the Confederacy, 
from which I had escaped ! Would I be able to conceal 
myself, and sail out again on their next attempt ? The 
chances were not one in ten thousand, with my escape 
known in Wilmington, and Mr, Peter I3assett upon my 
trail. 

My only hope now was that rue should be captured! 

In returning, we were compelled to run close to the 
Federal flag-ship again, and the mist was not quite so 
heavy. 

With the courage born of desperation, as we neared the 
admiral's flag-ship I shrieked out wildly to the top of my 
lungs : " Ship ahoy ! Stop this blockade-runner ! " 

My voice rang out through the still air, causing a com- 
motion on the Federal flag-ship that I could see as well 
as hear, but causing more commotion and more surprise 
upon the decks of the blockade-runner. 

A pattering hail of musket balls began to fall upon us. 
The United States marines had opened fire ! 

"Ship ahoy ! " I cried again. 

I could see the red-faced English captain dancing a 
jig of rage as he stood at the wheel. The second officer 
was cursing, and running toward me, a belaying pin in 
his hand. 

I cried : " Ship ahoy ! Stop this block " 

At this instant a flash of lightning seemed to strike my 
brain. I reeled and fell upon the deck. My last fleet- 
ing, conscious glance saw the second officer with his 
belaying pin raised for another blow. 

Then the mist seemed to close around me and night to 
come upon me. There was a surging in my ears, a roar- 
ing of waves in my brain, and nothing ! 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE SHOVEL OR THE RIFLE? 

*' Chuck that corpse into a wagon ! " 

The voice seemed familiar, but I was so sick, so dizzy, 
and such burning pains shot through my head, that I was 
unable to speak. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 6;^ 

" Pitch that corpse into a wagon, I say, quick ! " 

The voice seemed very famihar to me. I felt myself 
thrown into something in a very unceremonious manner, 
and gave a groan. 

" Hello ! By Jove he's a tough one ! " was the next 
lemark, and in the tones I recognized the voice of Peter 
Bassett. " Smoked, and poled, and knocked over the head 
with a belaying pin by a British skipper until he is nearly 
a mummy, and s^i7l alive ! I have half a mind to let him 
die, for the mean trick he played on me, but I reckon I 
had better fulfill my orders and get him back into a breath- 
ing condition if possible." 

With that I felt my jaws forced open, and something 
trickled down my throat that seemed liquid fire, but 
apparently gave renewed life and vigor to my limbs, 
though my head still ached as though it would burst. 

" What are you doing to me ? " I gasped. 

" Giving you brandy, firstly, and carrying you back to 
the provost marshal at Wilmington, secondly. You are 
the slipperiest customer I ever tackled." 

"Where am I ?" I muttered, dreamily. 

" Just being toted on the ambulance through the streets 
of Wilmington, North Carolina. The British skipper was 
so cursed mad at your hallooing to the Yanks that he 
had not more than cast anchor before his boat brought 
you ashore and turned you over. He swears that after 
his hospitality to you, you are the most ungrateful cuss 
that ever trod his deck. If, from your desperation, he 
had not supposed we would shoot you as soon as we got 
hold of you, I reckon he would have tossed you over- 
board to the sharks." 

All this came to me in a dreamy way. The throbbing 
in my brain was so severe that I did not care very much at 
that moment what was happening to me. 

A few minutes after I found myself in the temporary 
Confederate prison at Wilmington. A surgeon attended 
me and said that in a week I would be fit to travel. I 
did not pay much attention to all this, but being carefully 
attended, and the young doctor being a man of skill, I 
in a few days became convalescent enough to think, and 
with thought came almost despair. 

During my attempted escape from the Confederacy, I 
had been too excited to give much thought to anything 



64 HOW I ESCAPED. 

but my movements. I had had no time for reflection. 
Now I began to think of the sweetheart I had lost, and 
loved, and for whom I had sacrificed so much. I knew I 
could expect little mercy from the Confederate Government 
— that my chances of getting north were now practically 
nothing ; that I would be either forced into the Confeder- 
ate service to fight against the cause I regarded as right, 
or drag out the length of the war in some Confederate 
military prison. All that, however, seemed but little to 
me, now that I had once more got my thoughts upon 
Laura Peyton. I fell to dreaming about her in a despe- 
rate, sullen sort of manner. I believe I should have died 
of despair had I not heard the surgeon say, one day, that 
as soon as I was well enough for him to certify my ability 
to travel, I wa3 to be sent to Charleston. 

To Charlestoji ! I was going nearer to the girl from 
whom I had fled, but whose image had never left my mind, 
even in the excitement of the extraordinary adventures, 
uncertainties, and trials through which I had passed. 

I asked the surgeon if he could tell me from where 
the orders had come for my removal. 

" I believe they were brought here by the detective 
who caused your arrest." 

This of course meant my friend Mr. Bassett. If I 
could but discover under whose instructions he was acting, 
or by what influence he had been detailed to prevent my 
escape from the Confederacy, I might be able to form an 
idea of my future fate. 

Two days afterward I left Wilmington upon the train 
in the custody of the detective, and, weak as I was, pro- 
ceeded to pump him as to the influence that had brought 
me to the condition I was now in. I had not been robbed 
of my money when arrested. Bassett, for a detective, was 
honest ; consequently, by means of my Federal green- 
backs, that were as potent in the Confederacy as they were 
north of Mason and Dixon's line, I soon had Mr. Bassett 
in a sufficiently communicative mood for him to tell me 
he reckoned 1 had some powerful enemy among the high 
government officials. 

"Do you mean Confederate army officials?" I asked. 

"Oh, no ; they are too busy fighting ; but it is some- 
body who has a big pull in Richm.ond." 

" You don't know his name ? " 1 inquired. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 65 

*' No ; and if I did I would not tell you ; but he is a 
big 'un, you can reckon on that." 

The only enemy I had of such influence was Mr. 
Amos Pierson. The poorer tlie Confederacy grew, the 
richer he had become, and the army contractor had now 
even greater power than at the beginning of the war. 

Amos Pierson had had me arrested ! Amos Pierson had 
prevented my escape north ! And fool that he was, Amos 
Pierson was bringing me nearer and nearer with each 
revolution of the car wheels to the girl I loved ! I felt 
happy in the thought that in my forlorn condition my 
luck was turning ; that after all it was fated I should 
not leave South Carolina until I had made her my bride. 

When youth and hope pull the same way, the result is 
almost a certainty. In the two days that Mr. Basseti 
and I took to reach Charleston, health had again come 
to me. My spirits, before broken down, were elastic 
and buoyant. My body, that had been debilitated and 
enervated by disappointment and confinement, was rap- 
idly regaining the elasticity and strength that should be 
in a man of twenty-eight who has not destroyed his 
vitality by disease, dissipation, nor luxury. I was strong 
enough to fight the battle of life and love once more as 
we ran into Charleston. 

We arrived at this place about April 17th, nearly 
two weeks after the decisive repulse of the Federal 
monitors in their attack upon and bombardment of Fort 
Sumter and the neighboring batteries. 

The town, as I looked at it in the bright, soft spring air 
of that April morning, would have seemed to me the 
Charleston I had known before the war, had it not been 
for its hurrying troops, the new batteries in connection 
with Moultrie to the left, the long lines of earthworks to 
the right, on the shores of Morris and James islands, 
ending in Battery Wagner ; between these Fort Sumter, 
sitting upon its granite rocks in the middle of the pas- 
sage, the key to the defense of Charleston. I had not 
much time for reflection, for I was immediately placed 
in charge of the provost guard by Mr. Bassett, and hur- 
ried through the streets to the Charleston jail in the south- 
eastern portion of the city. 

A few Federal prisoners of war were in the jail yard at 
the time, though it was by no means crowded ; as it was 



66 HOW I ESCAPED. 

some months afterward, when a number of Union cap- 
tives, officers and men, were brought in from Anderson- 
ville and other prisons, in a vain attempt to prevent the 
United States batteries on Morris Island from bombard- 
ing the town. 

To my astonishment I was placed in the fourth story 
of the jail building — a portion that was entirely devoted 
to the incarceration of deserters from the Confederate 
army. I protested against this, telling the officer in 
charge that I was no deserter, and asking to be confined 
with the civil prisoners on the ground floor. 

This, however, was immediately denied me. I had to 
make myself as comfortable as possible where I was 
placed. This I did by means of some of the greenbacks 
I still had with me. 

I asked the officer in command of the guard if I could 
be permitted to communicate with Colonel Bee, of the 
Adjutant General's department. After some hesitation, 
he refused to carry or send any note, but informed me 
that he would notify Colonel Bee that I was in the prison, 
and in case that officer wanted to see me, he presumed I 
would know it. That was all that I wished. Bee was 
the last man to turn his back upon a friend when in dis- 
tress or trouble. 

Agreeable to my expectations, about an hour after this 
Stuart Bee passed the guard and came up to see me. He 
was looking very well, with the exception of a slight pale- 
ness, caused by loss of blood, and carried his left arm in 
a sling. 

Noticing my look of anxiety, he gave a slight laugh and 
said : " Bryant, a little present from your friends, the 
Yanks. I got it at Fort Sumter about two weeks ago. 
If it had not been for that, you would hardly have seen 
mc so soon ; but I am at present, fortunately for you, off 
active duty on account of this. However, I will be 
shortly in condition to return this compliment. " And he 
touched his bandaged arm. 

I expressed my concern at his wound. 

'• Pooh ! pooh ! It is nothing ! Your case is a great 
deal worse. Now," he said, taking me aside, " unless 
you do something for yourself, I can do very little for 
you, Bryant, old fellow. You did not take my advice, 
and report for service as crdered, but attempted to 



HOW I ESCAPED. 67 

escape. At all events, that is what Bassett reports of 
your movements. Now that you are here, unless you do 
as I advise you, the chances are you will have, during 
this summer, a pretty warm time of it." 

" What do you advise me U- do ? " I asked. 

" Do what you are commanded. You will join the 
Confederate service. I believe I have influence enouo^h 
to get you a staff appointment, as I promised you. Your 
engineering ability is well known, and can be made use of 
here in building fortifications. You will probably have 
no active fighting to do against oiir enemies the Yanks." 

" And if I refuse to fight * our enemies ' the Yanks ? " 
said I. 

" Then all I can do is to make your lot as a prisoner as 
comfortable as possible. We are suffering, ourselves, for 
want of provisions and many comforts of life ; you, as a 
prisoner, will scarcely receive as much, and will be, com- 
paratively, badly off. Think of this matter. I will con- 
trive to postpone your examination until to-morrow. Do 
as I ask you. It is the easiest way out of the scrape, old 
fellow. Meantime I will try to make your quarters more 
comfortable." 

With this he left me. Half an hour afterward I had 
evidence of Bee's not having forgotten his promise. 

I was removed to the second floor of the building 
where the Confederate officers and soldiers accused of 
military offenses were imprisoned. There I had a small 
room by myself, which had clean linen upon its bed. 
Soon after a good meal of corn bread, fresh beef, and 
coffee made from parched corn, showed me that as far as 
it was possible in a country that was slowly but surely 
losing all the comforts of life, my welfare had been taken 
care of by the generous Georgian. 

The next morning Bee called again, and added to his 
arguments of the day before the following one, which 
caused me much mental anguish, though it did not shake 
the resolution I had made and kept for three years. 

" I have been inquiring about your affair, Bryant," he 
said, " and it is rumored that the reason you remained 
south, \j'as because of your engagement to Judge Pey- 
ton's daughter. You stayed here to win her, but her south- 
ern sentiments prevented your success, even though she 
loved you. From all I can find out, I am inclined to 



68 HOW I ESCAPED. 

think she loves you still If you join us, old boy, she'll 
adore you, and we will soon have a wedding. I'll be 
your best man — for even in these unhappy days we 
soldiers steal some time from Mars to devote to Cupid. 
You might just as well be happy and free as an officer of 
the Confederate army, and gain the woman you love, as 
to be a prisoner until the close of the war and lose her. 
Your examination will take place in about half an hour. 
Don't make a fool of yourself ! Let love aid common 
sense ! " 

The time left me for reflection did not change my 
resolution. I had made up my mind how I must act. 
Duty and honor said one thing. Love might cry out the 
other as loud as it liked ; my resolve was unchanged. 

My interview with the Confederate provost marshal 
was very short, but by no means sweet. That ofificer 
said : " Mr. Bryant, I know everything in regard to your 
matter. We have a high respect for your ability as an 
engineer. You can be very useful to us. You were 
ordered to report at Charleston on the loth of April. 
Seven days afterward you were brought here, having at- 
tempted to leave the Confederate lines without a pass- 
port, and under circumstances that indicated you in- 
tended to go north. Your resignation to the railroad 
company shows that you expected to leave the South. " 

Here he handed me the document that had been de- 
livered by Caucus, as I instructed him, to the officials of 
the South Carolina Railway. " What have you to sav to 
it?" 

"Nothing!" replied I, "you are entirely correct in 
your surmise. I did intend to leave the Confederacy, 
because I do not wish to take service in any capacity 
against the government of the United States." 

" Very well," continued he, " you are a deserter from 
our service. If you accept an appointment under the 
Confederacy, and take the oath of allegiance to our gov- 
ernment, you will be put upon active duty in the army. 
Do you accept the same ? " 

" No ! " I answered. " I will not enlist in the Confed- 
erate army." 

" Very well. I shall report the case as it stands to the 
general in command. " And with that he dismissed me 
under care of the guard again to my prison. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 69 

A week after this I was summoned before him once 
more. 

" We have received orders from Richmond with re- 
gard to you, " he said, " and I am sorry, Mr. Bryant, 
that they are of a kind that will be as unpleasant for me 
to carry out as they will be for you to endure. You 
refuse to enter the Confederate army, once more ? " 

" Yes ! " I replied, " as firmly as I did two days ago, 
but I am very much obliged to you, colonel, I see you 
wish to give me a chance to escape some unpleasant 
position." 

" You are entirely right, Mr. Bryant," he said, " but 
since you will not accept it, my orders are to imprison 
you here and place you, as a criminal laborer, under mili- 
tary guard upon the fortifications of this place." 

" A criminal ? " gasped I. 

"Yes, such are my orders. ' Deserters are criminals.' 
Since the planters refuse to let us have all the negroes 
needed to complete the necessary fortifications, we want 
shovels as well as rifles to defend Charleston. You re- 
fuse to prry the rifle. You s/ia// carry the shovel. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE NIGHT ATTACK. 

• I HAD hardly reached the prison again, when Bee came 
to see me, and said : " You are very foolish in this mat- 
ter, Bryant. Change your mind, and even at this mo- 
ment I will try to make your fate a better one. There is 
some strong influence working against you, otherwise you 
would probably have been merely imprisoned here ; but 
unless you consent to the terms offered you, there is no 
doubt that in a day or two you will be working on some 
of those sand batteries down the bay along with a gang 
of negroes. They talk of the yellow fever coming here 
this summer. You will lead the life of a slave. Unac- 
customed as you are to hardship, I hardly think, old boy, 
that you will ever see your sweetheart again For God's 
sake, take my advice ; I mean it for your good." 



7© HOW I ESCAPED. 

" No," I replied, for I had grown dogged in this matter. 
" Under no circumstances will 1 take the oath of allegiance 
to the Confederate Government ! " 

" Very well," he said; " you have made your bed, and it 
is a hard one." He wrung my hand and left me. 

That evening I discovered, by the change in my treat- 
ment, what was to be my fate. I was again removed to 
the fourth floor of the building, which, even at this season 
of the year, was growing very hot and unpleasant. 

Despite my expostulations, my clothes were removed, 
my money taken from me, and I was clad in the stripes of 
a convict. My rations were cut down to simple corn- 
meal, and I began to experience the bitterness and hope- 
lessness of my fate. 

The next morning I was hurried off with two or three 
more Confederate prisoners, — the very scum of the prison, 
who had been sentenced for dastardly crimes against 
social law — not the military offenses of soldiers, — and 
sent to join a gang of negroes who were working upon 
the fortifications being hastily erected on the sandy 
island named Morris, defended and dominated at that 
time by the Confederate Battery Wagner. 

As we were marched ignominiously down to the tugboat, 
some of the more desperate of us being ironed, the con- 
temptuous glances of the people in the streets of Charleston 
showed me that I now was regarded as a criminal. The 
treatment of the guard as they hustled us onto the little 
tug-boat indicated that they regarded me as one of the 
class among whom I was placed ; not a soldier, not even a 
civilian, but simply a convict. I was very glad when, a 
few moments after, the tug left her dock and took me 
away from the people who, attracted by curiosity, gazed at 
us. It is very difficult to feel like a hero in the dress of a 
felon. I was becoming ashamed. 

We ran down the harbor, passing the old-fashioned, 
ineffective Castle Pinckney to the left, then Battery Rip- 
ley, and, gliding along the south shore near Fort Johnston, 
passed between Battery Greig and the grim walls of Fort 
Sumter, which still frowned defiance, though somewhat 
shattered by the bombardment of Union monitors. A 
few minutes after, rounding Cummings' Point, we ran 
down the shore of Morris Island, and landed at Fort 
Wagner. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 7 1 

Here the Confederates needed not only rifles but 
shovels. We were to work the shovels. 

This island is about three miles in length, and runs 
from Battery Greig on the north to a creek or estuary on 
the south which separates it from Folly Island. 

This inlet is of sufficient size and depth to be impass- 
able to an attacking party, unless in boats and protected 
by armed vessels. Morris Island has a varying width of 
from several hundred yards to perhaps a mile, but toward 
the west runs into a mass of creeks and marshes imprac- 
ticable for the movement of troops. The ocean side of 
the island is composed of numbers of sandhills or dunes 
of varying size, some of them forty or fifty feet in height, 
perhaps more. These are all white, glistening, flinty, 
burning sand, except where covered by scrubby trees. 
The topography of Folly Island, at that time occupied by 
the Federal forces, is of the same general character. 

On landing, we were marched, or rather driven, to the 
southern end of the island, where we were placed at 
work upon some light batteries that were being prepared 
hurriedly for Confederate guns. Here, under a brilliant 
southern sun the glistening sand became during the day 
hot as the surface of a winter stove. The nights, fortu- 
nately, in this later part of April, were cooler, and gave 
us some relief. 

But as summer came on, even these grew hot. From 
the time we landed, our lives became a fearful drudgery 
which was never suffered to relax ; during the day, filling 
sand bags and throwing up embankments; by night, fight- 
ing sand fleas for rest, slumber and forgetfulness. Our 
rations — corn meal and rancid bacon — were such that had 
I not been absolutely driven to it by starvation, I could 
not have eaten a mouthful. As day after day passed, 
all this became a frightful, driving monotony. The Con- 
federate officers, forced to haste in the erection of their 
batteries by the evident preparations that were being 
made on Folly Island to attack them, drove us harder and 
harder in our labor. These men did not spare their ov/n 
muscles and their own blood; then why should they spare 
us convicts and slaves ? 

The summer advanced. The nights and days became 
hotter and hotter, the labor more cruel and unremitting, 
our rations smaller and more nauseating. Morris Island 



72 HOW I ESCAPED. 

was now a purgatory. Then came the Federal attack, 
and this purgatory became a hell. We were shot at from 
the Union batteries upon Folly Island. The little blood 
left m our poor, half-naked bodies by the swarms of 
voracious mosquitoes was drained from some of us by 
bursting Federal shells. When first upon the island, in 
the day there was only time for labor, but at night I 
used to think of the woman I loved. Afterward, the dull 
monotony of passive misery seemed to take possession of 
me. I thought of nothing but of keeping alive till I 
escaped. I began to look longingly at the United States 
flag floating scarcely a mile from me, but what a mile ! 
— a few hundred yards of white sand, a deep inlet a 
quarter of a mile wide, and more uncovered sand to that 
Federal flag. A thousand to one I would be shot be- 
fore I reached even the inlet. Notwithstanding the des- 
perate nature of the enterprise, I believe I should 
have attempted it at night, had not about this time the 
increased rapidity with which we were worked driven all 
else but the desire for rest from my mind when permitted 
respite from a toil that now became utterly exhaustive. 

The activity on Folly Island indicated that the Con- 
federates were right in hurrying their preparations for 
defense. One night — I cannot be exactly sure as to the 
exact time, because I had failed in my misery to count 
the days or take record of the months — one burning- 
hot night we heard the sound of the chopping of a thou- 
sand axes upon Folly Island. In spite of the shelling of 
the Confederate batteries, this sound continued all night, 
and the next morning it seemed as though a magician's 
wand had waved. The woods in our front across the 
inlet were all cut down, uncovering to us a long line of 
Federal batteries, crowned with artillery and heavily 
manned. Between these and the Confederates an imme- 
diate cannonade began, which continued at intervals for 
nearly a week. 

At the end of this time four low, black-looking vessels, 
each one bearing upon its deck a single black turret, 
appeared off the bar. I had never before seen any ships 
like them, but I knew they were monitors. The fortifica- 
tions were now as nearly complete as they could be made 
under the heavy fire of the Federal troops, and we of the 
shovel were all marched up the island to give place to 



HOW I ESCAPED. 73 

those who used the musket, in the form of gray Confed- 
erate infantry. 

As we entered the bombproofs of Fort Wagner, I could 
see the monitors steaming in over the bar and taking 
up a position north of the southern portion of Morris 
Island. The next moment a tremendous bombardment 
began. Long lines of barges, towed by steam launches 
or propelled by oars, shot out from Folly Island, carrying 
some thousands of troops. Despite the Confederate 
fire, which cut lanes in their blue ranks, these were 
landed and formed upon the sandy beach. 

This cannonade continued while we were driven along 
the island to Fort Greig, then onto boats, and ferried over 
like cattle to grim old Sumter, to work on its fortifica- 
tions, now beginning to disintegrate under the Union 
guns. 

As we entered the fort, I gazed at Morris Island. 
The flag of the United States was flying at its southern 
end, over the batteries upon which 1 had been working 
the day before. 

The Federal forces had now to accomplish the most 
difficult portion of their work : that was the capture of 
Fort Wagner. Their iron-clads steamed in, and for thirty 
days and nights rained the largest projectiles in use at 
that time upon both Sumter and this sand battery that 
barred their passage to Charleston. 

During this time, in Sumter, the same grinding toil fell 
upon us. We labored like cattle, dismounting and remov- 
ing guns, filling up rents and fissures in the fort's granite 
walls with their very debris knocked about us by Federal 
cannon — all this under a fire that was simply infernal. 
Like the galley slaves of old, we toiled and died without 
the reward of soldiers' gallantry or the honor of soldiers' 
deaths. We had ten times the discomforts and twice the 
danger of the troops in the garrison. If there was a 
scarcity of provisions, whose rations were cut down ? 
The convicts'. Were the bombproofs full, for whom 
was there no shelter from Federal shot and shell ? The 
negroes and criminals. By this time, misery had made 
me scarcely human. 

This continued for some thirty or forty days, when 
one morning I saw the Confederate flag was not flying 
upon Wagner, that lay in full view from Sumter, across 



74 HOW T ESCAPED. 

the channel. Half an hour afterward the stripes and 
stars were hoisted upon it, and 1 knew the southerners 
had evacuated Morris Island. 

All this I looked upon with listless interest, until 1 
chanced to hear a conversation between two Confederate 
officers. One said : " Since the Yankee army has got 
Wagner, I reckon the Yankee fleet will try to get us." 

" Then," replied the other, " if they are fools enough 
for that, we'll get them ! How do you im.agine they'll 
try it ? " 

" Boats, of course ! " muttered the other ; and then he 
cried : " Look out ! That was a nasty one ! " as a shell 
from one of the monitors knocked over a ton of granite 
from the crumbling wall upon a working party on the 
fort. Under this lump of stone, as they walked away, I 
could see two or three writhing bodies. 

These words had set my brain going again. If the 
Federal boats made an attack, even if driven off, I might 
climb out of one of the casemates, and perhaps escape with 
them — if they captured Sumter, I was free any way. 

I began to look round me and see what the chances of 
success were. The preparations made for the defense 
against such an attempt made me know it could not suc- 
ceed. The fort had been battered into crumbling ruins. 
No heavy guns upon its battlements were in condition 
to be fired ; but in these ruins were bombproofs impreg- 
nable to either bombardment or assault. The crumbling 
walls could still support light field-pieces. These loaded 
with grape and canister, were so placed as to sweep 
with a cross-fire the various faces of the fort. Hand- 
grenades were piled about in convenient places. The 
few companies of artillery that had garrisoned the fort 
during its bombardment had been replaced by some of 
Colquitt's Georgia infantry. Muskets, not cannons, were 
to be the weapons now used in Fort Sumter. 

I continued my observations, and as the officers 
appeared to regard me more as a machine than a man, 
discovered from their conversation that upon a signal the 
batteries of Johnston, Moultrie, and Sullivan's Island had 
all been trained to sweep the faces of Fort Sumter, the 
direction and elevation of their guns marked and noted 
so that they could fire with the same accuracy of range 
at night as by day. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 75 

In this fire no boat attack could succeed. I therefore 
made my arrangements to join the Federal launches in 
their inevitable retreat. 

For this purpose I selected a broken-down embrasure, 
the rubbish from which ran in a gradual slope to the 
water. It was easy of ascent as well as descent, and 
would be sure to tempt some of the officers of the 
attacking party to try a landing. I noted that no gun 
could easily be trained upon it. Through this embra- 
sure I would join the Union boats. This being settled 
I fell to waiting for the night that I hoped would give 
me liberty. 

Notwithstanding the desperate fatigue and labor of 
the day, I lay awake, all the night after I had heard this 
conversation, looking for the Union boats ; but nothing 
came save an occasional shot from their monitors. 

The next day I could see something was expected to 
take place. The hurried manner in which we were 
worked, filling hand-grenades and placing bags of sand 
about many of the embrasures of the fort, in order to 
prevent musket-balls or grape-shot frorii the Federal 
launches entering them, all told this. 

As the evening drew on, the night became dark. Then 
the hail from boats coming down Charleston harbor was 
heard, and a reinforcement of some hundred more of 
Colquitt's Georgians came into the fort accompanied by 
several officers who had volunteered for this night's 
particular service. Among them, I thought I heard the 
voice of my friend Bee, but was unable to communicate 
with him, as immediately after this we convicts, together 
with such negroes as were in the fort, were marched under 
guard to a distant portion of the works. 

All this told me that by some means General Beaure- 
gard, who commanded the fortifications of Charleston, 
was aware that this night had been selected for the boat 
attack. 

Sneaking past the guard, who were now intent only upon 
noises coming from the sea, I crawled to the embrasure 
I had selected, and looked out over the surface of the 
water. Nothing was to be seen save a few sparks of fire 
ascending lazily into the air some miles out to sea from 
the smokestack of one of the Federal vessels, and the 
low, black hull of a Confederate iron-clad that moved 



76 HOW I ESCAPED, 

slowly past me to take a position some half mile away, 
where her guns could cover one of the angles of the for- 
tification. Despite my fatigue, the excitement kept my 
eyes from closing. I waited and watched for all of three 
hours, but about this time, overcome by lack of sleep my 
eyes closed, and I fell into an uneasy slumber. 

From this a noise that seemed to shatter my ears awak- 
ened me. The light guns of the fort had been discharged, 
and a rolling fire of musketry was pelting bullets through 
the darkness into the water for a hundred yards or more 
from the base of the fort. Suddenly a single rocket went 
into the air. The next instant the faces and angles of the 
fort were swept by every projectile known to modern 
warfare. The Confederate guns on Sullivan's Island had 
opened on us, followed immediately by Ripley, Johnston 
and the Confederate iron-clads. Under our bombprcofs 
the garrison was safe. Heaven defend the Union boats 
outside ! 

The water for several hundred yards about became a 
mass of foam under the bursting shells and solid shot 
that plowed it up. Then, by the light of an exploding 
bomb, for the first time I discovered the Federal boats 
dashing toward us in several divisions. As they entered 
the fire, some of the barges sank, the screams of their 
drowning crews arising over the babel of sound. Pelted 
by musketry, plowed up by cannon shot, detachments of 
these boats with a cheer pulled for the attack. 

One division headed by a young officer came straight 
for the embrasure from which I was looking, favoring 
the sand-bags that protected me with a volley. 

As they approached, hand-grenades were thrown upon 
them from the fort. 

The Federal officer cried : " That casemate is our 
best chance. Give way, men ! " They forced their boats 
up on the scarp and debris at the foot of my embrasure. 
As they leaped on shore a solid shot from Moultrie 
crashed through one barge and a bursting hand-grenade 
tore up the bottom of another. I sprang out to join 
them, and, as I did so, a bullet from the officer's revolver 
grazed my hand. The next instant the boats that were 
following him were either destroyed or else retreated out 
to sea, 

A dropping musketry fire from the battlements above 



HOW I ESCAPED. 77 

Struck down several of the sailors and marines about him. 
The launches that were following retreated into the dark- 
ness. The young ofificer looked at his sinking boats, and 
saw that there was no chance for success. I was about 
to beg him to retreat, and to tell him I would join him, 
when to my horror and astonishment, he handed me his 
sword and cried : " Tell your men to cease firing ! I 
am here unsupported. To save my men, I surrender to 
you." 

Stunned by disappointment, I looked at the white 
handkerchief one of the sailors was waving, and saw the 
boats in which the Federals had come sink into deep 
water by the scarp of the fort. The order to cease firing 
was given above ; a detachment of Confederate infantry 
appeared at the embrasure, headed by my friend Bee. 

He cried out : " The only way to save our prisoners' 
lives is to take them into the fort ! " For the shot from 
Moultrie and the Confederate batteries around the har- 
bor still hailed upon the outside of Sumter. I came up 
first. As the Federal lieutenant was dragged into the 
embrasure with his men, he said to Bee : " I cannot give 
you my sword, as I have already surrendered it to one of 
your men, a very gallant fellow who attacked us single- 
handed ; but if I had had support from the rest of the 
boats — curse 'era ! — I'd have fought my way into that 
embrasure ! " 

The next instant Bee in the darkness dragged me 
along to the commanding officer to receive a reward for 
my gallantry. 

Almost the first thing I recollect after this was stand- 
ing in a circle of Confederates, and hearing Bee say : 
" This is the man who, single-handed, attacked the Fed- 
eral boat's crew ! " 

Then an astonished laugh came to my ears, the com- 
manding officer saying : " By the Lord ! it's a convict 
that has done all this ! Gallantry's contagious. Some of 
our slaves will soon be capturing a Yankee regiment ! " 

Though Bee took a good look at me upon this speech, 
still he did not recognize me. 

I said : '• Colonel Bee, I am a convict, but, you know, 
not a criminal, though compelled to labor here as one ; " 
Then I turned and walked sullenly away, and joined the 
gang of slaves and convicts ; for the cruel disappoint- 



78 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

ment of the night had almost maddened me. I hated 
every one who wore the Confederate uniform. 

Half an hour afterward one of the guards touched me 
on the shoulder, and said : " Colonel Bee wishes to speak 
to you." 

I followed him, and found the gallant Georgian about 
to reembark in one of the boats that were taking back a 
portion of the troops to Charleston. 

He tcok me aside, and said : " Did you really attack 
the Federal sailors ? Do you now intend to join us ? If so, 
I can report this to the commanding officer, and, I think, 
under the circumstances, have your sentence revoked." 

" Does this imply my taking the oath of allegiance, 
and joining the Confederate army ? " 

" Certainly." 

"Then I must refuse." 

" You had better reconsider. Your lot here is a hard 
one, for, Heaven knows ! I would hardly recognize you 
— you are so terribly changed ! " 

"You need not take any trouble on my account," I 
said. " I do not intend to join you. I did not attack 
the United States sailors. I went to join t/iem, and to 
attack _>w/, but to my disappointment, they surrendered 
to me." 

" Very well," said Bee, curtly, after a little laugh. 
" If you won't help yourself, I can do nothing more for 
you ! " 

He turned and walked to the boat, never looking back. 

I could see that my sullen manner had irritated the 
man who had tried to be my friend as far as circum- 
stances permitted him. 

Then the guard took me again to the wretched hole in 
which we convicts and slaves were herded. I lay down, 
broken in mind, broken in body, broken in heart. The 
chance I had longed for, and planned for, had failed me. 
I was still a prisoner, doomed to slave in a Confederate 
fort. 



BOOK III. 
How I Won Her. 

CHAPTER X. 

SHE CAME ! 

The next day the gang of laborers with which I worked 
was moved out of the fort. At dusk, to avoid the Federal 
fire, we were embarked on boats towed by a steam tug 
up Charleston Harbor, and I thought we were going to 
the town ; but, instead, our voyage was continued to a 
little creek called ''Wappoo," that empties into the Ash- 
ley River, opposite the city. 

Moving up this as far as boats could go, we were 
landed and marched a mile or two that night, to some 
sheds evidently prepared for us, given our miserable 
rations of poor corn meal and poorer bacon, and lay 
down in some straw, like dogs in a kennel, to sleep. 

Early the next morning, under guard, we were set to 
work on some fortifications about a mile from Fort Pem- 
berton, on Stono River, These were being hurriedly 
completed. Having failed in the reduction of Fort Sum- 
ter, the Union forces might now make some attempt to 
come to Charleston, via Stono River. It was much pleas- 
anter here than on the sand dunes of Morris Island. 
There was running water, green trees, and an absence of 
that deafening sound that came upon us day and night 
from the Federal guns. Bad as it was, the place was a 
great improvement upon where we had previously worked. 
These fortifications were not heavy earthworks, like those 
at Wagner, or on Morris Island, but were long lines of 
intrenchments fitted to protect an infantry force in the 
open field, though, at convenient places, batteries were 



8o HOW I ESCAPED. 

erected in which guns could be placed as needed to resist 
any Federal advance. 

Curiously enough, my health under these circumstances 
became better. The greenness of the trees pleased me 
after the white sand dunes of Morris Island. The run- 
ning water sounded sweetly to me, and I became stronger 
and better each day. I had grown accustomed to hard- 
ship and hard fare. Besides, my life was given a certain 
variety by the number of people I saw passing along the 
country roads, this place being entirely out of the range 
of Federal guns. Ladies, even, sometimes passed that 
way, though I took but little notice of them, and my life 
was monotonous toil. 

I was awakened from this monotony by a sudden 
shock. One day, laboring on an earthwork that ran close 
to and commanded a long, yellow, dusty road, I heard 
the sound of hoofs upon it. Chancing to look up, my 
gaze became petrified and fixed upon four figures on 
horseback, made indistinct by a surrounding cloud of 
dust. One was a red-headed negro ; another looked like 
that of Bee the Georgian. Then cantered behind a 
youth with an empty sleeve, and last — her form ! For a 
second I thought myself going mad, that it was an hallu- 
cination. 

But her face became more and more distinct, the lovely 
eyes grew familiar to me, and her voice came to me. 
" Arthur, are you sure this is the right way ? " 

At these words existence seemed at first a dream, then 
floated away. The shovel fell from my hand — the earth 
seemed to strike me. 

The next thing I remember was the guard saying : 

" Why, the poor devil must have got a sunstroke ! He 
fell down just as you come up, miss ! " 

Then Laura Peyton's voice cried : " Quick ! Place 
him by this spring. The water will revive him ! " 

I opened my eyes, and found myself in a small grove, 
through which a pretty little stream flowed down to the 
swamp that bordered Wappoo Creek, near the place where 
I had been working. The cold water revived me. I lay 
upon the grass. She was gazing at me and muttering 
" Poor fellow ! " but there was no recognition in her 
eyes. Caucus was bathing my face with water. 

As he did so, the negro began to tremble and turn 



HOW I ESCAPED. 8l 

dusky. Though he said nothing aloud, his lips muttered: 
" Fo' de Lord ! " 

A moment after the guard said : " Git up and back to 
work. I can't wait for you any longer. Git up ! " 

I did not move. I would have died before I left her 
without her knowing me. 

" Git up ! " and the fellow would have kicked me had 
she not stepped between us. 

" This poor creature is sick, worn out — can't you see 
it ! Are your eyes not human ? " she said, standing 
over me in the plain homespun dress these days of pro- 
longed war had brought to all the ladies of the South. 

'' The officers are inspecting of us. I'm responsible for 
him ; he must come with me. Git up, you sneaking 
skunk ! " muttered the man. " Git up ! " and he raised his 
hand. 

" Don't you dare touch him ! " she cried. " My 
brother, Captain Peyton, is one of the officers inspecting 
you, Colonel Bee the other. I'll be responsible for this 
man's custody. Can't you see he's too weak to move ? 
Go back to your duty ! " 

"All right, miss, if you say so ! " muttered the man. 
Remember, you'll see he comes back. Don't git me into 
the guard-house ! " 

"I'll see you are safe." 

" Very well, miss," and the man returned to the in- 
trenchments. 

He had no sooner disappeared in the trees than Cau- 
cus, whose eyes had been rolling wildly, suddenly cried : 
" Fo' de Lord ! Massa Bryant ! " and fell to kissing my 
hand, while she who had been gazing at me with a look 
all of pity and naught of recognition, suddenly grew pale 
and gasped: " My heaven ! " then commenced to sob and 
wring her hands, and would have flown to me. 

But I waved her off, and said : '* Keep away — don't 
touch me. The filth of the prison is on me ! " 

And she muttered, " I don't care ! " and would have 
soothed me with pitying tears, but as she came toward me 
she stopped and shuddered, looked at my striped dress, hes- 
itated, turned pale and gasped : " Why, you are a co?ivict ! " 

"Yes, a convict for loving my country — for loving 
you ! This striped dress is a present from your admirer 
— Amos Pierson's influence has brought me to this \ " 
G 



82 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" Amos Pierson ! " she cried. " He has again tried to 
obtain my consent to marry him. It was reported you 
were dead, as you had gone out to sea in a blockade-run- 
ner, which was destroyed by Federal vessels." 

'' Yes, Amos Pierson ! " said I. between my teeth, 
"Amos Pierson ! But, thank God ! his influence has 
brought me back to South Carolina — to you ! Laura, 
you refused him, — was it for me ? Was it for my 
sake ? Do you still, in spite of all," muttered I, for the 
girl was panting and sobbing in a way that gave me 

hope, "do you still " I looked around. Caucus had 

disappeared. " Do you still, in spite of the North and 
the South, do you still love me ? " 

She said nothing. I was trembling with disappoint- 
ment, when in a flash she turned toward me and held 
up her finger. The sunlight through the treetops illu- 
mined it, and I saw upon it the engagement ring that 
she had dropped upon the greensward the day I parted 
from her in Columbia six months before. 

Despite the rags and filth that covered me, I would 
have seized her in my arms, but at this moment the 
bushes that lined the stream were parted and Stuart Bee 
gazed upon us. 

As he looked, a grin partly of astonishment, partly of 
good-nature, ran over his handsome countenance. He 
turned hurriedly back and I heard his voice saying : 
" Arthur, your sister is not here. We must look for her 
somewhere else ! " 

As he did this, the sergeant of the guard forced his way 
through the brush, crying out to me : " You lazy sneak, 
you have been twenty minutes loafing here ! Back to 
work, at once ! " 

A flash of rage was in my sweetheart's face. In another 
moment she would have confronted this man, her brother 
would have heard her, and there would have been a 
de'nouemejit when Bee at this moment, looking over 
his shoulder, said sternly : " That man is worn out with 
work. Give him an hour's rest, or you will have to put 
him in the hospital, sergeant." 

"Very well, sir," replied that functionary, touching his 
cap. " He has generally done his share, and I'll be easy 
on him this time ! " 

He went back to his men. I could hear Bee and 



HOW I ESCAPED. 83 

Arthur walk off to their horses. Laura and I were alone 
together once more. 

'' Uo you know that officer ? " she suddenly asked. 

"Who, Stuart Bee?" replied I. "He has been my 
only friend." 

" He is still your friend — our friend," she cried. " He 
must have planned this meeting for us. He it was who 
obtained my brother's appointment to make the inspec- 
tion of the fortifications here, and persuaded me to come 
with him." 

" It was for my sake, Laura ! God bless him ! " I 
cried, as remorse seized me for the words I had uttered 
to him when last we met ; " but we will not be long un- 
interrupted. I must say all I have to very quickly." 

I told her my adventures that had brought me to the 
state in which she saw me ; this very rapidly, and only 
interrupted by sighs of sympathy and exclamations of 
horror from Laura. 

When it was over she said : " Lawrence, you must end 
this martyrdom at once ! " 

" Yes, by perjuring myself, and becoming a Confeder- 
ate soldier ! " 

" No — not that way ! Though I am a southern girl 

not that way ! I should not respect you if you took that 
way now." 

" Then how? " 

" I can't tell, yet. All I know is, that I could not exist 
thinking of you as I see you now. In some way I must 
save you, — in some way I wi7/ save you ! " 

"■ You love me ? " I gasped. 

" I'll talk of nothing now but how to save you ! " 

" You love me ? " I begged. 

*' I hear my brother calling me ! I must go, or he will 
find us here ! " 

" You love me ? " I cried. 

" Yes, " she said. " I love you, and will save you ! " 

I seized hex hand in mine and pressed my parched, hot, 
burning lips upon it. As I did so, both a tear and a kiss 
fell on my face. 

Arthur's voice was heard calling : " Laura, where are 
you ? " She turned from me and ran through the grove 
in the opposite direction to the road, apparently intend- 
ing to come out at some distant point in answer to her 



84 HOW I ESCAPED. 

brother's call. Her tears had unloosed the fountains of 
my heart for the first time in all my misery. 

Half an hour afterward 1 staggered out to the line of 
men, shoveling sand upon the Confederate earthworks. 
There was no sign of either her, her brother, or Caucus ; 
still I shoveled away with a better heart than I had ever 
had before in the rebel trenches, for I had faith in the 
woman I loved fulfilling her promise and finding for me 
a way to freedom. 



CHAPTER Xr. 

THE RED-HEADED NEGRO. 

For two days I waited. On the morning of the third, 
as we were being routed out to our work, I thought I 
heard a familiar negro voice. 

The next moment the sergeant of the guard said : 
" Hello, here's a disobedient nigger ! To work in the 
trenches for punishment, eh ? You red-headed rascal, 
I'll take the spunk out of you ! " 

" Fo' de Lord ! go easy on me, massa ! " 

No one took any interest in this matter, as it was a 
common habit of planters in the neighborhood to aid the 
Confederate cause by donating to it the labor of their 
insubordinate slaves ; as for me, it filled me with hope. 
For the negro sent to work in the trenches was Caucus, 
and I guessed he had some communication for me. 
Unfortunately, however, he was told off to work on a 
different part of the fortifications, and I got no chance to 
comm.unicate with him until night. Our sleeping arrange- 
ments were very primitive. We lay down in a long shed 
in any part that was convenient, the guard giving but 
little attention, except to see that we did not escape ; 
consequently I soon worked myself alongside the red- 
headed negro. He seemed at first in almost too much 
trouble to speak to me. 

In answer to my inquiries, he only muttered : " Golly, 
if I knowed dis, I'd never no way come heah. Dey 
worked de life out o' me to-day, an' dis grub ain't fit 
for a buzzard to chew ! " 

*' You have something to tell me ? " 



HOW I ESCAPED. 85 

" Yas ; but de sergeant said he'd tie me up by de 
thumbs " 

" Speak — quick ! What message have you for me ? " 

" Well, jes' let me get de aches out of my arms an' 
legs. Lord, how dey worked me ! It ain't possible you 
libed six months in dis kind of way, Massa Bryant ! " 

" That is the reason I want to get out of it. Quick ! 
what communication have you for me ? " 

" Well," he said, " don't I want to get out ob it quick too? 
De missus sent you dis," and he handed me a little packet. 

Watching my opportunity I read the note. It was simply, 

"Do as Caucus tells you." 

Besides this, the packet contained the same identical 
roll of greenbacks I had sent my sweetheart and asked 
her to use on my leaving Columbia. 

" Your mistress says," I whispered to him, " I am to 
do as you tell me. — What am I to do ? " 

" Get out of heah, quick. I'se got a boat ready to 
take you down de Stono ribber to de Yanks." 

" But how are we to get out of here ? " 

" Well, dat's what you got to find out. If I'd a knowed 
what it was, I'd neber hab come myself, do' she'd begged 
me on her shins for an hour; but you mustget out to-night." 

Get out to-night ! The proposition was a sudden one. 

Get out to-night without having a bullet put through 
my body ? As I looked at the line of Confederate sen- 
tries, with their loaded muskets, that prevented any 
escape of the negroes or convicts, the proposition 
seemed an absuid one. 

I had never before thought of escaping from the 
guards, because, without friends and without money, it 
had always seemed to me an impossibility to reach the 
Union lines ; but now, as I reflected on the matter, my 
views suddenly changed. 

The nights had been growing colder and colder, as 
we were now getting well into the month of November. 
Large camp fires each evening were built for the comfort 
of the guard. The wood for these had been brought 
every day by a detail under guard ; but to-day, for some 
reason, this had been omitted or forgotten. I'he stock 
of fuel was not sufficient for the night's use. 

At the very moment I was planning escape, I heard the 



86 HOW I ESCAPED. 

sergeant directing some of his men to take a few of 
the laborers and get in a supply for the night. The 
soldiers, not wishing to take too much trouble, roused 
up and ordered out those of the prisoners nearest the 
door of the shed. 

I whispered to Caucus to get up, come with me, and 
join the gang. 

" I can't ; I's too tired. Doan want no more work to- 
day. Ts neber been used to de life ob a field hand." 

'' Come with me, if you want to get out of here to- 
night. The sergeant '11 tie you up by the thumbs to-mor- 
row," I whispered in his ear, supplementing my argu- 
ment with a vigorous kick, for I was thoroughly enraged 
at Caucus' indifference. 

With a grunt, partly of rage and partly of pain, he got 
up and followed me. 

We soon found ourselves in the v/ood squad guarded 
by three or four Confederate soldiers with loaded muskets, 
and marched off to some neighboring timber. I whispered 
to Caucus to keep close to me, whatever else he did. 

Fortunately for us, the timber was quite thick about 
here, and we were ordered to spread through it and get 
the wood which had already been cut down and piled in 
various places. This we were to bring to a place indicated 
for our meeting just out in the open ground. We were 
divided into three gangs, a Confederate soldier with a 
loaded gun going with each one of these ; the fourth, a 
corporal, remaining at the place to which we were told to 
bring the wood. 

In the undergrowth at night it was a difficult matter 
for one man to keep his eye on three or four, and watch- 
ing my opportunity I gave Caucus a signal, then dropped 
down into the thick foliage, and crawled on my hands 
and knees followed by the negro. 

I felt pretty sure that our absence would not be noticed 
until the gangs had brought the wood to the place of 
meeting. That would give us at least twenty minutes' start 
of any pursuit. 

As I crawled along followed by Caucus, I asked him : 
*'• What route are we to take to your boat on the Stono 
River ? " 

His reply astonished me. He said : " Golly ! Ts too 
tired to go dar now. It's more'n a mile away." 



HOW I ESCAPED. 87 

" Look here," I said, " if they catch us, you will be shot 
as well as I." 

"Golly! do you link dey'll shoot vicV 

" I know they will." 

" Den dey's got to cotch me fust ! " and from this time 
on the vigor of the negro astounded me. 

He started off through the brushwood at a pace that 
made it difficult for me to keep up with him. 

After about five minutes more of this travel, we entered 
the swamp that borders Wappoo Creek. We did this none 
too soon, for at this moment the firing of the guard 
indicated that our escape had been noticed. 

Following Caucus by a path that he apparently knew, 
even on this dark night, I passed along the swamp going 
up the Wappoo Creek. We heard nothing of pursuit. 
At night it would have been impossible for them to fol- 
low us without the aid of dogs, which I presumed they 
would get as soon as possible. 

Following the creek for about a mile and a half, we 
came upon a place where there was not more than three 
or four hundred yards of open ground to the Stono 
River. This was about half a mile above Fort Pember- 
ton. Peering cautiously out of the undergrowth of the 
swamp in the direction of the river, we found no one 
moving and no guards set, the river above the fort being 
considered perfectly safe from any boat attack of the 
Federals. Crossing this ground hurriedly, we descended 
to the river, and there found a light skiff that Caucus 
had moored at the spot for this emergency. In it was a 
suit of decent clothing for me, and some simple but 
wholesome food, the first I had tasted for months. I 
immediately threw off the convict suit I wore, and 
donned the clothes while Caucus was pulling the skiff 
into mid-stream In the pocket of the coat I found a 
loaded revolver. 

" Who sent them for me. Caucus ? " I whispered. 

" Miss Laura. She's been tinkin' ob you and wringing 
her hands ober you for de las two days. She's had red 
eyes, sah ; powerful red eyes, Massa Bryant." 

These words added strength to a resolution I had 
already made. 

While this was going on. Caucus had turned the boat 
down-stream and we were gliding toward the Federal 



88 HOW I ESCAPED. 

gun-boats, some five miles distant. We had already 
reached a point in the river only a few hundred yards 
above Fort Pemberton. 

" Where is your mistress ? " whispered I. 

" Miss Laura ? " 

" Certainly ! " 

" Oh, she's a mile or two up de ribber stopping wid 
Judge Elliott's family. Her brudder's stoppin' dar, too. 
He's looking after diggin' up some forts near heah. I's 
to go back and 'port to her when I's got you safe down 
de ribber to de Yanks." 

"Very well," said I. "I must see her before I go. 
Turn the boat up-stream ! " 

'• No, sah. I ain't nebber goin' up dis stream agin ! " 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I means when I gits to de Yanks I's a-gwine to stay 
dar. I's bound to be free like you is, sah." 

" Then you are not going to return to your mistress ? " 

" No, sah. If I once get to de Yanks, I stays." 

" Turn that boat up-stream ! I must — I will see her 
before I go." I seized the tiller to change the direction 
of the little craft. • 

" Dis boat don't go up-stream wid me in it ! I's 
gwine to be free ! " 

" Look here. Caucus," I said, " there's no use of your 
arguing with me or acting in that way ;" for the black 
had raised his oar threateningly. " I am going up that 
river to see Laura Peyton, and you have got to go with me." 

" Nebber ! " 

'' Then I've got to go without you ! " and I clapped 
my revolver to his head. 

" You ain't gwine to kill me ? " he gasped. 

" Not if you do as I say, but if you make any disturb- 
ance here now, I will ! " 

By this time the boat had floated almost opposite the 
fort. 

" If you want to get out, you can do so after we have 
got up-stream a little way, but we must go back first. 
It is too late to do anything else," I whispered, as I saw 
two patrol boats moving about down the river opposite 
the fort. " You see they know of our escape. We never 
could pass between them." 

Fortunately during this conversation we had been 



HOW I ESCAPED. »9 

drifted by an eddy under the shadow of the bank and 
the patrol boats did not see us. The wind was blowing 
up-stream, and they could not hear us. Urged by my 
revolver, and perhaps by his fears, Caucus turned the 
boat about and rowed slowly up the river away from the 
Federal gunboats for which he longed. 

" Look heah," he said, " it's sartin death for you to 
go up dar. If de rebs cotch you, whar am you ? " 

" I am going to see her before I go." 

" Golly, you's gone mad, you has, sah ! You dunno 
what you's doin'. If de rebs cotch you, you's a goner, 
and de Yankee gunboats ain't but few miles away, I 
reckon dey ain't so much, sah." 

" Pull ahead ! " 

1 cocked the revolver, and Caucus said no more for 
some time save an occasional ejaculation of " Fo' de 
Lord, you has gone crazy ! " or some similar expression 
of astonished horror and disgust. 

" Row quicker ! " said I, sternly, whenever he relaxed 
his efforts, and in about an hour we rounded a bend in 
the stream upon the bank of which I could see lights, 
apparently from a house. 

" Dat's de place, sah ! " 

*' Where she is ? " 

" Yes, sah ! " 

As the boat drew up at the bank, I said, " Go into the 
house quickly, and tell her I am here. Don't you alarm 
the family, for the Elliotts are southerners to the back- 
bone, and if this comes out, it means the whipping-post 
for you, as well as imprisonment for me." 

" I knows dat, sah. Golly ! I tink you treat pretty 
hard dis boy who helped you to 'scape." 

*• Tell her quickly," said I, "and when this is over, 
Caucus, I will make your disappointment up to you in 
some way. You know I was kind to you before. Be 
faithful to me, and I will be so again." 

" All right, sah," said the volatile black, with a grin. 
*' I's bound to get free dis trip, somehow, an' I s'pose I 
can put it off for a day or two." 

With that he stole up one of the paths leading through 
the garden to a pretty cottage erected upon the banks of 
the stream, while I impatiently and anxiously placed 
myself in the shadow of some trees to wait as well as I 



90 HOW I ESCAPED. 

could for the coming of the being for whom I had risked 
so much, 

A few moments after this she was by my side with im- 
patient words, almost reproaches. " For God's sake, 
Lawrence ! — you may never escape now ! Why didn't 
you go ? " 

" Because I love you." 

'' Yes ; but think how unhappy you make me. If you 
are taken again, they will perhaps /'/// you ! " 

" To win you I would risk anything ! " 

" But you cannot win me if you die." 

" I will win you before ! " 

" For heaven's sake, leave me ! Take the boat and go 
down the river." 

''That is an impossibility now," said I. "The Con- 
federate patrol boats are on the alert. Every picket 
between here and the Federal lines knows that we have 
escaped," for at that moment I heard the booming of a 
gun down the river. 

" You can go. You must go ! " 

''I will not go. I came here deliberately." 

" And why ? " 

" To win you ! " 

" Win me ! — what do you mean ?" 

" I mean this," said I. " If you love me, you would wish 
to save my life." 

" I cannot save it if you do not leave South Carolina." 

" I will never leave South Carolina until you are my 
wife. I made that resolution six months ago. when I was 
forced back into this State. Providence brought me 
back to be your husband." 

" This is madness ! " 

" Laura, you must love me, after what you have done 
for me. For God's sake, do the only thing that will make 
me wish to save my liie—7/iarry me now ! " 

The astonished girl panted at this, and in a sort of des- 
perate frenzy, I seized her in my arms and supplemented 
my peculiar wooing with all the kisses and endearments 
that I had hoarded up for the girl in my imagination dur- 
ing the long time I had been parted from her. 

" For Heaven's sake have mercy upon me ! Think of 
what my friends, my family, would say to my marrying 
you in this way." 



HOW I ESCAPED. 9I 

" For my sake, have mercy upon me ! Think of what 
my misery will be if I leave this place fearing I have 
lost you." 

" We cannot be married to-night." 

" Before I fly from South Carolina, we must be," I 
muttered, the sudden joy of knowing that I had won her 
coming to me with her words. 

" For my sake, leave me ! You will be captured ! My 
heavens ! they are coming now ! " 

The girl panted and clung to me while I listened, and 
through the darkness of the night heard the sound of 
cavalry and the clanking of sabers. 

*' Conceal yourself, for my sake ! " she begged. 

" Not unless you promise to be mine." 

" And if not ! " 

" They'll find me here, — I don't care what becomes of 
me ! " 

" You are mad ! " 

"Yes, mad enough to do this." 

" Quick ! You won't have time, — let me hide you ! " 

" Do you promise ? " 

" Yes ! Anything to save your life ! Come ! " 

She glided up the pathway, I followed her silently. 
I knew that I had conquered— that Laura Peyton's 
promise was her bond. 

" This way ! " She passed around one of the out- 
buildings, and coming to the barn, she led me into 
an old deserted portion of it, filled, as well as I could 
discover in the gloom, with rice seed and sacks for hold- 
ing the same. 

" Conceal yourself between these ! I will send Caucus 
to look after you." 

" By this kiss, remember your promise ! " 

She tore herself from me and left the place. 

I could hear the Confederate soldiers outside ques- 
tioning the family if they had seen about there a white 
escaped convict and a red-headed negro. 

Next I heard Caucus' voice. " Golly, I 'specks I's 
de only red-headed nigger 'round dese parts ! " 

" Well," laughed the officer of the cavalry, ''if you 
meet your twin brother, arrest him and we'll give a reward 
for him." 

" How much reward ? " said Caucus. 



92 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" Well, perhaps a hundred dollars." 

''Say, you make it a thousand, and I'll delibber myselt 
up for him," laughed Caucus, as the patrol rode away. 

After a few minutes, the astonished exclamations and 
hearty laughter of the Elliotts at the wit of Caucus died 
away. I could tell from the voices that they were all 
women, young Arthur Peyton and the men of the house 
being off on duty at this time. 

Half an hour or so after this Caucus came to me, but 
in a very surly mood, and gave me a very stale piece of 
corn bread and a by-no-means succulent sweet potato. 

"Why didn't you bring better ? " asked I. 

*' Cuss you ! " replied Caucus. " Do you tink I's 
gwine to give you a good meal after you robbed me of 
my liberty ? What am I now ? A slabe ! But for yous 
I'd have been a free man an' a Caucussion ! Heah's 
someting else, sah ! " He handed me a scrap of paper. 

" How am I to read this without any light ? " 

" Come wid me ! " 

I followed Caucus to an old cabin, perhaps two hun- 
dred yards from the house. It was near the bank of the 
river where our boat was moored. Here the negro soon 
lighted a tallow dip. By its light I saw Laura Peyton's 
well-remembered handwriting. It said : 

" Darling : I dare not visit you now, but will take the first oppor- 
tunity as soon as the family are asleep — perhaps in half an hour. Was 
it noi a little ungenerous, dear one. to take advantage of my fears 
for you ? Could you not see that it would have broken my heart if 
anything had happened to yon ? That was the reason I gave you my 
promise ; but I will keep it if you will keep yours, and try to fly to 
safety." 

If the delicate and maidenly reproach in the letter 
made me feel that I had not treated my sweetheart gen- 
erously, the thought that I had won her obliterated it 
with joy. 

A movement of the negro's attracted my attention. In 
the uncertain light I could see he still eyed me in a very 
sullen manner. I knew he had not forgiven me for bring- 
ing him back to slavery. If he betrayed me, there was 
an end to every hope. 

'•Caucus," said I, "you don't seem to like me as you 
used to." 

" No, I's cussed if I does ! " 



HOW I ESCAPED. 93 

"Here's twenty dollars." I took this out of my hoard 
of greenbacks that Laura had returned to me. 

" I don't want no money from you, Massa Bryant," he 
said, savagely, though he eyed the greenback in a greedy 
way. 

" Oh, yes, you do. Caucus," said I ; '* you want it to 
hire a minister." 

*'■ Hire a ?>n?iister ! What for? To bury us when de 
rebs catch us? " 

" No," I said, " to hire a minister to marry me." 

*' Marry you ? Who you marry ? " 

" Can't you guess, Caucus ? " said I, 

" Golly ! not Miss Laura ? Dat's what you wanted to 
come back for ? " 

"Yes," I replied, "otherwise we would now both be 
free together. I have come back to marry your mis- 
tress." 

" Fo' de Lord ! Dat's what you brought me back for ? " 
said Caucus, a grim smile lighting up his dusky features. 
"Well, den ! If Miss Laura marries yous, I forgive yous. 
Great gosh ! How de Peytons will cuss ! " His grin 
changed into a guffaw. 

" Then," replied I, " I will soon be in your good graces 
again. I will soon marry your mistress." 

" Golly, dar's fun ahead ob us ! Fo' de Lord, you's 
cute as a coon ! " and the negro gave another wild 
chuckle. 

I did not answer this. My thoughts had taken another 
turn. How was I to get a minister to make me the hus- 
band of Laura Peyton, unknown to her family, in a land 
where civil war made every one suspicious ? 

How was I, a fugitive, to do this ? 



CHAPTER XIL 

THE HONEYMOON IN THE BLUE RIDGE. 

These thoughts rapidly todx my mind to my promised 
bride, her beauty, her love — now all mine again. For a 
moment I was in heaven. The next instant I was on 



94 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

earth. The negro's hand was on my arm. He muttered, 
" Hist ! " 

We both h'stened. Some one was apparently, from the 
noise, examining the boat that had brought us up the river. 

" I'll see what dey's up to ! " whispered Caucus, and 
he stole from the cabin, while I examined my revolver 
to be sure it was in condition for service. 

With it, the forethought of my sweetheart had provided 
a little extra ammunition. 

For fear the dampness had affected the priming, for 
some drops of water might have got on it when 1 had the 
trouble with Caucus on the river, I carefully placed a 
little fresh powder in each of its six nipples, and re-capped 
the cylinder. To do this I had to turn my back to the 
door in order to get the light from the candle. 

I was just finishing this when I heard a chuckle, and 
looking over my shoulder, saw a man standing in the door- 
way of the cabin. To my sorrow, I recognized him. He 
was Pete Bassett, the Confederate detecdve. 

" Wal ! " remarked he, with a grin, " this is exhilarat- 
ing as whisky ! To meet you agin. Mister Bryant ! I heard 
in Charleston four hours ago that you had cut out. 
Thar was a standing reward from a particular friend of 
yours to keep an eye on you, and I come after it." 

" How did you discover me ? " murmured I, -capping the 
last nipple of the cylinder. 

"Why, by instinct ! I knew the gal was staying up har. 
I came and nosed around. I reckon'd if you tried to get 
down the river, our picket boats would have nipped you. 
So when I discovered that ar skiff had been out to-night 
and evacuated in a hurry by the oars left in it, I calculated 
I'd nabbed you again. So come along ! " and he would 
have approached me. 

"Stand where you are ! " 

" Notby a darned sight ! " 

' Stand ! " I covered him with the cocked pistol. 

" Crackey, I didn't know you were heeled! " He paused, 
astounded. Then he began : " Now, Mr. Bryant, you'd 
better take that thing down. You know you can't get out 
of this place, nohow. I'll go easy on you. I'll — if you 
put that cursed thing dowift-I'll let you go, I'll only take 
in that red-headed nigger ! That'll stop the talk. Lord ! 
won't they give it to that saffron-skulled darkey ! " and 



HOW I ESCAPED. gc 

the detective gave a hideous chuckle to try and throw 
me off my guard. 

As he did so, a more hideous and awful chuckle came 
from behmd him. Bassett's laugh closed with a gurgle 
With a smothered cry, he fell senseless at my feet, and 
over him with a pick-handle that would have felled an ox 
stood Caucus. 

"Wonder if dat smash his head in. Call me saifron 
sku led. D-n him ! " and before I could interpose, 
another dreadful blow fell upon the head of the senseless 
Bassett. 

I jumped forward and caught Caucus' upraised hand 
and not without difficulty restrained him, for the negro's 
eyes had become bloodshot and his nostrils dilated with 
the scent of gore. The black was going back to his bar- 
barous instincts. The meek slave was becoming like what 
he had sprung from, a Zulu warrior. 

'; What we does wid him ? " he asked, showing his 
white teeth. "Finish him up, and chuck him in de 
ribber ? 

*' No, no ; no murder ! " 

'' If we not fix him, he fix us. His life or ours If de 
rebs cotch us now, we's gwine in ! " 

^'- 1 know that, but I don't wish to kill him." 
*' He nearly dead now. It no hurt him. Why not ? If 
we don t git him out ob de way, what become of us, 
Massa Bryant ? ' 

" That's true," I replied. " We will get him out of the 
way, and I II show you how." For an idea had just come 
to me by which we might be relieved of the presence of 
Mr. Bassett. "We'll take most of his clothes off • he'll 
hardly be known by the rest if the rebels pick him un I 
suppose none of the pickets down at Fort Pemberton 
know him personally. If they do, he won't be in a condi- 
tion to tell em anything, for a week or so. If he crets past 
them, the Federal gunboats '11 take care of him to the 
end of the war." 

T u "^^f ^?'' "'^''" ^° ^° • " ^s'^ed the black eagerly, for 
I had already pulled the coat and vest off Mr Bassett 
and was examining his linen. This I was relieved to find 
was in no very good shape, as rtigards either cleanliness 
or condition, and bore no marks by which he could be 
recognized. 



96 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" I'm going to put him adrift in the skiff. He'll float 
down the river. If the rebs pick him up they won't know 
him, and if he gets to the Union boats he can't hurt any- 
one." 

" Dat's good, Massa Bryant ! " muttered the negro 
with a grin. " Hope he'll get to de sharks and 'gators, or 
de Yankee gunships. Call me sarsafras-skulled niggah — 
cuss him ! " 

With that, aided by me, he dragged the insensible 
Bassett to the boat, and, propelled by a vigorous push, the 
skiff with its load floated down the stream. 

As we did so, however, Bassett gave a low groan, and 
this was echoed by a female voice beside me. I turned 
hurriedly, and Laura Peyton, with a pale face, gasped 
tremblingly to me : " Lawrence — you — you have killed 
some one ? " 

** Not exactly, darling," I replied, taking her in my arms 
and trying to comfort her. '' But I've been fixing a man 
who stood between me and liberty and you ! " 

With this I told her hurriedly of Mr. Bassett's commis- 
sion from Amos Pierson, and what Caucus and I had done 
to the detective. 

" This complicates matters fearfully," she returned, 
after a pause of consideration. " Come what may, Law- 
rence, I'm glad you did not kill him. Now that this has 
happened, you must get away from here instantly." 

" Not until you keep your promise ! " 

" How can I keep my promise ? Who can marry us 
here ? You act like a crazy man," she muttered, wring- 
ing her hands. 

" Until you are my wife, I make no attempt to leave 
South Carolina. I won't exist with the fear of losing 
you to make my life the miserable one it has been these 
last six months," 

" Whether you leave South Carolina or not, you must 
fly from here to-night ! " 

" Not without hope ! " said I, doggedly. 

"You must ! " 

" Not without hope ! " 

" Well, then," said she, " you stubborn one, I'll give 
you hope ! " 

" How ? " 

** Let me think," she muttered, knitting her brows. 



HOW I ESCAPED. gj 

" Let me think ! " And for a minute she remained 
motionless, except that a silent tear or two ran down her 
cheeks. 

Then she cried suddenly, a look of resolution beaming 
in her eye : " Listen to me, Lawrence Bryant, and re*^ 
member, in all the life we may go through together, 
what I do for love of you now. Like most men you 
love— a little selfishly— that doesn't make us women love 
less, so long as you love us. Now in your selfishness 
)^ou threaten a practical suicide, unless I do what you 
demand— a thing that will separate me from the love of 
my family. But why should I go over this again ? I, 
because your death would break my heart, have con- 
sented to this." 

" No, no ! " I cried. " Laura, forgive me ! " for her gen- 
erosity brought my selfishness hpme to me. " You shall 
not sacrifice yourself for my mad passion. I'll, for your 
sake, try and save myself— try and escape to the North. 
And when this awful struggle is ended, if we both live, 
I'll come back to you." 

" Come back to me perhaps after half a century. Who 
knows how long this war may continue ? Do they fight 
any the less now that so many are killed— that there are 
so many widows and orphans, and each day makes more .? 
No, Lawrence—" here she beamed on me—" I'll not take 
the chance of losing, neither. I'm glad now that you 
fought for our happiness. I'll marry you, come what 
may, as I promised. You wouldn't have me break my 
word to you, would you, dear one ? " this last with a 
pitiful smile that contained two tears. 
" You'll marry me ? " I cried. 
" As soon as possible ! " 
"How?" 

"A-a-h. How.?" She gave another sigh and 
thought hard again. Then said, " I'll tell you how ! " 
speaking with sudden determination. " There is a part of 
this State so blessed by God that this cruel war has 
never reached it. Far away to the northwest, cut off by 
the high peaks of the Blue Ridge and Alleghany from 
the awful carnage and bloodshed of Tennessee, and too 
far from the coast to be engulfed in the cruel devas- 
tation that is scourging the country about here, the 
pretty mountains and upland valleys of Spartanburg 
7 



98 HOW I ESCAPED. 

county, save for the absence of their sons, hardly know 
of the carnage that is going on all round them. My 
aunt, Miss Mary Tickens, has a little farm near the 
boundary of North Carolina, not far from Jackson Hill, 
She is an old lady of about seventy, and has lived there as 
long as I can recollect, waited upon and tended by two 
negroes, who are as old as herself. She is bright and active 
for a woman of her years, and would be sure to discover 
the circumstances that brought us to her, but, fortunately, 
I being her favorite niece, received a letter from her not 
long ago stating that she was going to make a visit to her 
sister, in Augusta, Georgia. The old cook is the only one 
left in the house. She adores mc, and will believe any- 
thing I tell her. In that portion of the State you would be 
unknown, and would be as safe as it is jiossible for you to 
be in the Confederacy. Meet me there, and I will keep 
my promise." 

" You will marry me there ? " 

" Y-c-s ! " she replied, slowly, with a sigh, then giv- 
ing me a slight smile, murmured : " It is near ' The 
Land of the Sky.' Lawrence, in happier days, I would 
have picked it out for — a — a honeymoon in the Blue 
Ridge," the last with a blush that looked crimson in 
the light of the candle. 

" You will meet me there ? " 

" Certainly. Come to my aunt's house." And she 
gave me careful directions. " Four days from now I 
will be there. I can easily make the excuse of visiting 
my aunt to my father, brother, and sister, who do not 

know that she is absent from her mountain home. 

But how to get there ? " At this she paused, and then 
cried despairingly, "This war has made me so very 
poor ! " The next moment, covering her face with her 
hands, she muttered : " I should not have told this to 
you ! " 

" Darling," said I, " why did you not use the money 
that 1 sent to you six months ago ? " 

There was a little reproach in my tone, for during 
this interview, I had been looking at the plain homespun 
dress of my sweetheart, the coarse shoes, and the 
absence of all the little delicate adornments which she 
had been used to wear in the happier days of our first 
engagement. " Why didn't you spend the money ? " 



HOW I ESCAPED. 99 

'* I could not take it from you, when I supposed you 
would not be my Jiusband," she cried. " Oh, I am so 
glad now that I have been able to return it to you intact, 
without having touched a dollar of it ! " 

" So am I," replied I. " Fate made you save it. It 
gives us money enough to make the attei7ipt to become 
happy." 

With this, after much entreaty, I forced upon her a 
sufficient amount for all the requirements of her jour- 
ney. 

"Why," she said, "this almost makes me feel rich. 
Every dollar of this is worth twenty of Confederate money. 
But how are you to get away ? That is the real difficulty. 
Without a pass you can travel nowhere in this portion of 
the State." 

At this I began to think. How was 1 to leave the 
neighborhood of Charleston without a passport ? Every 
train was guarded, and every traveler without papers 
looked upon with suspicion. This obstacle to our plans 
would have appeared insurmountable had not, at this 
moment, my eye rested upon the coat and vest of the 
detective. Filled with a new hope, I seized Bassett's 
clothes and thoroughly searched them. In them I found 
a pocket-book full of papers and money, which I thought 
best to take with me ; also a passport made out to travel 
on business of importance to the Confederate Govern- 
ment. It was a general, unlimited, roving kind of pass- 
port, though, unfortunately, it gave a description of Mr. 
Bassett with which I did not thoroughly agree, though 
our height and weight were about the same. 

" I must try it with these papers," said I. " They are 
my only chance. Let Caucus guide me to the railroad, 
in order thai I may get a train for Columbia, thence on to 
Spartanburg. Then he can return and bring you to me." 

I hurriedly asked her if the schedule time of the South 
Carolina Railroad had been altered in the last six months. 
She said she thought that it had not. If this was so, I 
knew the running time, and could make my arrangements 
accordingly. In order to catch the early train, it was 
necessary for me to start at once. I called Caucus, 
explained the matter to him, and he agreed to what I 
said. He remarked that there wouldn't be any danger 
for himself in traveling with a young lady as well known 



lOO HOW I ESCAPED. 

as Miss Peyton, and he could get along very well without 
me, as I had only been a source of danger to him ever 
since he had met me. 

We were all too much excited to make my parting with 
my sweetheart a tearful or a sad one. We had not time 
to think. 

Leaving her ; under the guidance of Caucus, who 
knew the by-ways of this part of the country thoroughly, 
I traveled rapidly north from the Stono River, crossing 
the Charleston and Savannah Railroad track, and taking 
a small country road, succeeded in reaching the Seven- 
Mile station on the South Carolina Railroad. This was 
just sufficiently outside the picket lines of the Confeder- 
ates around Charleston to be safe. 

Sending Caucus back to my sweetheart, with strict 
injunctions to watch over her until I met them, I boarded 
the train, muffled myself up well about the head, and 
pretended to sleep, in order to avoid interrogations. 

The running time of all trains upon the railroad was 
now so bad, owing to their defective tracks, that I knew 
it would probably be evening before we reached Colum- 
bia. This suited me very well, as there was less chance 
of my being recognized in that town at night. The hard- 
ships and trouble I had been through had, to a certain 
extent, altered me, and the poor clothes I now wore, so 
different to my apparel of a few months ago, made the 
change in me a great one. Another thing in favor of my 
not being recognized was that the exigencies of the war 
had called all the young men away to the army ; conse- 
quently the former brakemen and conductors had been 
removed, and their places taken by old men, who had not 
seen me in my railroad position, and did not know me. 
It was night when we reached Columbia. My ticket was 
taken up and my pass examined by the last conductor. 
Among the things I had found in the pocket of the 
detective's coat was a plug of tobacco. In my haste I 
had transferred it to mine. This was fortunate, as I was 
just about to leave the train when the conductor suddenly 
turned to me and said : " Can you favor me with a chaw, 
Mr. Bassett ? " 

" A what ? " 

" A chaw of tobacco, of course. " 

I put my hand in my pocket and found the plug. Had 



HOW I ESCAPED. lOl 

I not been able to do so, the conductor mis^ht have sus- 
pected me. I presume he knew Mr. Bas^ett's habits, and 
that he never traveled without his tobacco. 

Leaving the train, and going into an out-of-the-way 
portion of the town, where I would be apt to meet no 
one who would recognize me, I spent most of the night. 
The next morning I sent a negro to buy my ticket, for I 
was afraid that the ticket-seller would remember me. 
Having procured this, the early train took me up into the 
hills. 

I now felt more at my ease. Every mile I went, carried 
me away not only from the scene of war, but from the 
people whom I had known, and who might recognize me. 
That evening I put up at the little country hotel of Spar- 
tanburg, the landlady of which was a widow, her hus- 
band having been killed at Gettysburg. 

Here I waited — waited impatiently for two long days, 
most of the time watching the road leading north from 
Spartanburg, for I knew that along this my sweetheart 
must pass to the place where she had promised to be my 
bride. The beautiful country about me, the bracing at- 
mosphere of these hills, so different to the clammy moist- 
ure of the swamp country of the coast where I had 
toiled, all were naught to me — I looked only for her. I 
did not see her, but the evening of the second day the 
landlady said that Miss Peyton had hired a wagon from 
her to go out to her Aunt Mary's place. That night I 
hardly slept. The next morning I drove out toward 
Cowpens Ford, and turning up a little mountain road, 
an "hour afterward, Mr. Caucus, with an exclamaiion of 
delight and a horrible grin, opening the gate for me, I was 
in the arms of my sweetheart once more. 

'' Did I not keep my promise ? " she said. " Did I not ? 
But oh ! how I had to fib to my family. What decep- 
tion ! I almost despise myself for it. I wonder if they 
will ever forgive me. My poor father ! " 

She commenced to wring her hands, and would have 
gone on in this style had not I, inspired by her presence 
said : " Laura, this is no time for tears. We must be 
married at once." 

" At once ? " this with a little tremble. 

"Immediately!" I returned. "Were we to be met 
together, your situation would now be embarrassing." 



I02 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" Oh, I had forgotten that ! " she cried, giving me a 
delicious blush. "Old Mr. Huntington, the minister who 
baptized me, lives not two miles from here. He is 
both a little deaf and a little blind, but I imagine a cere- 
mony performed by him will be as binding as if solem- 
nized by a minister with the complete use of his faculties. 
Will you ride over to him and give him this note from 
me ? I think he remembers me as a child." 

I soon found the old preacher, and two hours afterward 
returned with him. Here a new rapture awaited me. 
Laura swept into the room. In some occult manner, in 
Columbia, she had obtained a white muslin dress and a 
little French ribbon, perhaps the relic of her finery before 
the war. Radiant with blushes and love, my bride was a 
perfect goddess of beauty. 

The marriage ceremony between us was performed. 
Half an hour afterward the minister drove away, and my 
bride and I strolled out on the veranda of the old house. 
Behind us were the beautiful peaks of the Alleghany and 
Blue Ridge, that cut off the desolation of war from us. 
Below, a hundred beautiful little hills gradually rolled into 
the valleys that ran down to the sea-coast, red with the 
blood of civil contest. ' 

In this fair country, divorced by nature from the pas- 
sions of men, we had only to live for each other now and 
be happy while God would let us. For a month we tried 
to live the life of forgetfulness, and in part succeeded. 
What man would not think that Heaven intended his 
fate to be happy, blessed as I was by the supreme 
love and beauty that my wife gave to me? But still 
neither of us could forget the danger that surrounded us. 
This made us very cautious, and actuated by this, my 
wife wrote several letters to her family describing the 
happy visit she was making her aunt. 

It was a curious honeymoon. The sudden opening of a 
door caused the bride to start ; a step upon the piazza or 
on the walk outside made the bridegroom handle his pis- 
tol. The faithful Caucus, however, was always on the 
alert, and nearly every day went down to Spartanburg to 
get the news ; but no troops were moving in this country, 
which had been denuded of all its young men, and we 
were far enough away from the great highways to the 
gaps of the Blue Ridge by which reinforcements were 



HOW I ESCAPED. I03 

sent into the valley of the Tennessee to be rid of marching 
troops. We lulled ourselves into a hope that this might 
last forever, until, one clear winter's day, the sword 
descended — our honeymoon in the Blue Ridge ceased 
forever. Like most tragedies, it came unexpectedly. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

WHEN GIRL MEETS GIRL ! 

The day had been one of dreamy happiness. We had 
now almost deluded ourselves with the hope that a hap- 
pier Providence than that which had heretofore been 
over us would still permit us to linger in each other's 
love, despite the whirl of war around us. The day had 
been one worthy of the superb scenery about us that gave 
a tinge of poetic romance to our love. We had been sit- 
ting together on the veranda, looking down the slopes of 
the Blue Ridge, upon which a little stream ran toward 
the plains upon which the war raged that we had grown 
now to look upon as very distant. Behind us the moun- 
tains rose into the blue air, and were covered with a slight 
snow, for it was late in December. 

" Laura," said I, giving her slight waist a little honey- 
moon squeeze, " do you remember this day three years 
ago ? The n^ght of the little dance at your house — the 
day Secession was declared ? " 

" Yes, Lawrence," she muttered, " I have never for- 
gotten that ; but please do not at this moment mention 
what reminds me of the last three terrible years. Here, 
cut off from bloodshed and trouble by that little range 
of hills below, let us be happy while we can ; the time 

will be too short. My heavens ! whose voice is 

that ? " 

At this she turned pale and began to tremble nervously, 
and I turned pale also, for — " This is Aunt Mary's hou-se, 
I reckon^ isn't it. Caucus ?" came to us in the accents of 
the woman I wished least to meet on earth — Miss Belle 
Peyton, Laura's sister. 

I could hear the negro's teeth chatter ; next his voice 



T04 HOW I ESCAPED. 

came to me in a kind of grinning yell : " Golly gracious ! 
Miss Belle's heah ! Miss Belle's heah ! 'Clare to good- 
ness, Miss Belle's heah ! " 

He ran about the garden shrieking this out, apparently 
to give us warning. 

" Are you crazy, Caucus ? Open the gate at once, and 
let me in ! " said Belle, hurriedly. 

The next moment she rode into the garden. Pale, but 
firm, Laura rose to meet her sister. 

I can see Belle now as she came running up the steps, 
crying : " Laura, I grew anxious about you when Aunt Mary 
wrote me from Augusta saying nothing of you. I thought 
it curious that you were makmg her a visit when she was 
not at home. But now I will stay a week or two with 
you myself. We'll have a delightful time up in these lovely 

hills. We'll Oh ! my soul ! This is the cause of your 

visit. You are .staying here with this man. My sister, 
what does it mean ? " and Belle glared at me with fiery 
eyes. 

At this Laura said, very calmly, though there was a trem- 
ble in her voice, " Belle, let me introduce to you my 
husband, Mr. Lawrence Bryant." 

" Your kusband ? " shrieked Belle. " Oh, heavens ! this 
is worse than I feared ! " 

" My husband, whom I love and honor, and whom you 
must respect, Belle, if we are to be sisters." 

" Sisters ? When you have married one of our enemies ? 
This man who loved the North so much that he left you 
to fly to it ? Oh, what degradation ! What misery ! 
What despair ! AVhat will my poor old father say to — 
this ? " and the girl began to pant with passionate rage 
and hysterical misery. 

" He will say nothing. You must not tell him — at 
present," came from Laura's pale but resolute lips. 

" But I 7ai// tell him, so that he can despise you as I 
do. Loving this man who would destroy us— a Yankee." 
This last was uttered as if it was a term of contempt 
beyond anything else on earth. " A Yankee ! " 

The girl came toward me with flashing eyes, looking 
as if she would almost attack me. 

" Oh, how I hate you ! " she hissed. "You who have 
lured my sister away from her duty and her friends. A 
man who had not lieart enough to fight us, but must 



HOW I ESCAPED. IO5 

destroy our family by making a woman love him, and 
she — my sister," and she burst out crying, sobbing, and 
wringing her hands. 

I bad said nqthing to this, judging it best to let her 
exhaust her childish fury. Now I remarked : " Miss 
Belle, I loved your sister before this war came to 
separate us. You used to like me then ; can you 
not think a little kindly of one who regards you as — a 
sister ? " 

" Your sister 1 she shrieked. " I will not be your sis- 
ter long. I have heard that you are a criminal — a deserter 
from the ranks of our army twice over. Good -by, Laura ! 
Your honeymoon will be a short one." 

The girl turned to go, and almost staggered while doing 
so. 

" What do you mean ? " cried Laura, suddenly confront- 
ing her. " Where are you going ? " 

*' I am going to the nearest military post to denounce 
this man you have wed, and to deliver him up to our 
authorities, that he may be shot to death. That's what 
they'll do to him ! Then he can call me ' sister ' no 
more. Then our disgrace may be wiped out by his blood. 
You shall be his widow — not his wife ! " 

" You will do nothing of the kind," said Laura, very 
calmly. '' You are crazy now. Belle. You will stay here 
until your mania is over." 

"■ I will stay here not a second ! Don't you try to 
detain me ! Keep your hands off me ! " for Laura had 
placed a detaining grasp on Belle's arm. '' How dare 
you ?" 

"It is my duty," said Laura, "to my husband and to 
you to stop an insane woman from doing what she would 
regret forever. Do you suppose I will let you, in your 
mad anger, murder the man I love ? Do you think that 
I am crazy as well as you ? You will stay here until you 
regain your sanity ! " 

" Not another second under the roof that is polluted 
by this man. Oh, my Heaven, Laura ! how could you 
do it ? But I will do my duty, if you forget yours, you 
renegade ! " The two girls stood confronting each other, 
the dark eyes of one flashing anger into the resolution in 
the blue eyes of the other. 

" Lawrence/' returned Laura, calmly, "give me your 



I06 HOW 1 ESCAPED. ' 

assistance. Your life depends on it. This girl is mad 
enough to do what she promises ! " 

I saw that my only chance of safety was in obeying my 
wife's request. I came, and as tenderly^ as possible took 
hold of Belle's arm. 

" Oh, you're a northern gentleman!" she hissed, " to lay 
your hands on a woman ! It is like you Yankees ! " 

" Belle, stop these insults," cried Laura, *'or I shall for- 
get that you are my sister ! S/op them ! Lawrence, 
Quick!'' for Belle had commenced to struggle and 
scream in her hysterical rage. 

Then Laura and I, as delicately and tenderly as was 
possible, drew the struggling girl into the house, and 
securely locked her into one of the upper rooms. 

This apartment was a kind of attic, the windows of 
which were protected by iron bars from the assaults of 
negro thieves, the place being used as a family store- 
room. I shall never forget the look in that girl's eyes 
that fell on me as we left her ! The rage of " a tigress 
robbed of her young " would do no justice to the picture 
that Miss Belle's pretty face made as we closed the door 
on her and turned the key in the padlock. 

Laura and I descended the stairs, despair in our hearts. 
We knew our honeymoon was over, that the war had 
drifted from the plains of South Carolina into this quiet 
valley of the Blue Ridge. 

" Lawrence, we must part now. There is but one 
place of safety for you, and that is on the other side of 
the line." 

" Now ? " I muttered. 

" Yes ; I know you would stay with me. You would 
risk your life for my happiness, for another day with me ; 
but you must go. It may be a sweetheart's wish to 
detain her husband. It is a wife's duty to bid him God- 
speed at such a time as this. " 

" Laura, you must go with me ! " 

" I cannot ! I dare not ! I must keep this girl here, 
or you will be pursued before you can reach any place 
of safety. I will join you in the North. It will not be 
difificult for me to take passage in a blockade-runner. 
Women are non-combatants. 1 will meet you wherever 
you tell me. My life here could hardly be pleasant now ; 
with you away from me it would be misery. I shall 



HOW I ESCAPED. IO7 

keep Belle securely, but tenderly, until the danger of her 
denouncing you is passed." 

After this I did not attempt to persuade my wife to 
accompany me upon the hazardous journey I was about 
to undertake. I had long ago mapped out the route I 
should take on leaving the Confederacy. It was across 
the State line, but a few miles distant, into North Caro- 
lina, then through the western portion of that State into 
the mountains of East Tennessee, entering the Union 
lines near Knoxville. 

Dangerous as this road was, on account of guerillas, 
bushwhackers, and scouts, it was the best now open to 
me. 

I made my preparations hurriedly, silently, with 
almost a broken heart. That night my wife and I 
parted. Our honeymoon ended almost as suddenly as 
it had begun, but I left with the joy that now she was 
mine ; no other suitors could rob me of her. She was not 
my sweetheart — she was my wife. 

This journey I was to make alone. I would not take 
even Caucus with me, as it was necessary that he should 
stay by my wife. I was thoroughly armed with a pair of 
navy revolvers, had a fairly good horse, and fifty dollars 
in greenbacks in my pocket. The balance of my hoard 
I left with Laura for any expenses and emergencies she 
might meet with and to pay her passage on some block- 
ade-runner to Nassau, thence to New York. 

As Caucus opened the gate of the garden, and bade 
me good-by, I could see the pale, distracted face of my 
wife, as she stood in the doorway of the house. I did 
not dare look back too long, and, setting my teeth, 
turned my head away to make my escape, for her sake 
as well as my own. 

My preparations had occupied me till perhaps nine 
o'clock at night. Beyond the gate of the garden, my 
road ran down a little lane Imed with laurel trees. 
The moonlight, however, reflected from the snow of 
the neighboring hills, made this lane quite light. I was 
leaning on my horse, arranging the articles that I carried 
with me in a knapsack slung upon the saddle, v/hen I 
heard these words, that gave me a tenible start : "By 
Gosh ! I've got you now, and this time you don't escape 
me ! " 



lo8 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Glancing hurriedly up, I saw confronting me, not ten 
feet away, the form of Pete Bassett, who had me covered 
with a revolver. 

Fortunately one of my pistols was in a holster hanging 
from the saddle, and my hand rested upon it. I did not 
move it as I knew that any motion would be the signal 
for my death, but with a presence of mind born of the 
situation, I said quietly : " Mr. Bassett, I never expected 
to see you again." 

" No," he replied. " And you don't like it, after hav- 
ing that nigger beat me nearly to death, and then ship- 
ping me down the river in a boat, delirious for two 
weeks, so I could not give an account of myself. You 
didn't reckon on me to find yo.u agin, but that reward 
is still open from that particular friend of yours. So I 
come up and nosed around Columbia, and when I saw 
your gal's sister Belle start out suddenly for this part of 
the State, I followed her, and having got a glimpse of 
the gal you are sweet on through the window of that 
house, I knew you wasn't far away. Now I have got 
you sure ! You don't dodge me agin. Throw up your 
hands ! " 

" Yes, I do ! " cried I, with a laugh. " Hit him again. 
Caucus ! " 

With an oath the detective suddenly wheeled and 
faced about to confront, as he supposed, the negro once 
more. As he did so my hand drew my pistol from its 
holster, and like lightning I shot him, for I had no 
mercy now. This man had three times stepped be- 
tween me and escape, and I knew if I did not kill him 
there would be but little chance for me. 

With a horrid yell, Bassett fell into the roadway. 
I stepped up to him and he gasped : " Played me agin, 
Gol darn it ! and this time played out forever ! Fust 
laid out by a nigger, and then chawed up by a 
Yank ! " 

With this he fainted, probably with disgust, as his hurt 
did not seem to be mortal. 

As I bent down over the wounded man. Caucus and 
my wife, attracted by the noise of the shooting, came run- 
ning down the avenue. From her appearance I am sure 
that Laura thought I had been the victim, for she gave 
a sigh of relief when she saw me .standing erect. 



HOW I ESCAPED. lOQ 

"What new horror is this?" she gasped, while Cau- 
cus gave a grin and chuckled : " You fixed him dis time 
didn't you, Alassa Bryant ? An' I fixed him de last time ! 
I reckon we got to bury him dis time ! " 

" That would not trouble me much," I replied. He 
has had three chances at my liberty— now I have had one 
chance at his life ! " , ., -r 

" Lawrence, you must not stay here ! said my wite. 
"We will do what we can for this wounded man. Go 
on at once, you may be pursued ! This has made your 
flight even more imperative than Belle's visit ! " 

Another hurried parting, another last kiss, and I 
started once more upon my journey. 



BOOK IV. 

How I Came Back and Fought 
FOR Her. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

INTO THE DARK COUNTRY. 



I HAD made up my mind to follow the road which led 
across the State line into Henderson County, thence to 
Asheville, in Buncombe County, and the French Broad 
River, which would give me a direct route through one 
of the gaps of the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains 
into East Tennessee. Now, fearing immediate pursuit, 
I whispered my change of plans to my wife. I deter- 
mined to go somewhat off the direct route by way of 
Rutherford County, which would probably throw any 
people following me off my track. Taking a few hurried 
directions from her lips, for Laura knew the country very 
well, I took the small road leading across the State line 
to Island Ford, in Rutherford County, North Carolina. 

It was only a few miles distant, and in about an hour 
and a half, by riding rapidly, I had made the place. 
From here I passed rapidly along to Rutherfordton, 
a little village and county-seat, arriving there some 
time after midnight. From this place, after resting my 
horse, I followed the directions given me, and about three 
in the morning reached Green's Hill. The country was 
very thinly settled, and that night I was disturbed by 
nothing save the barking of a few curs as I passed along 
near the farm-houses on the road. 

I was approaching Green's Hill when I heard the clatter 



HOW I ESCAPED. lit 

of a horse's hoofs behind me. Urging my tired beast to 
his speed, I kept along as rapidly as possible, but in spite 
of me, the sound came nearer and nearer. Fearing that 
I was pursued, and knowing that it was by only one man, 
for I could hear only the noise of one horse, I drew up in 
the shade of some trees to let him pass me, or to see 
what he intended to do. 

I had not been in this position more than a minute or 
two when a form of a man on horseback rapidly passed 
me. By the uncertain light, it seemed familiar to me. 

I hallooed, " Is that you, Caucus ? " 

'- Golly ! Fo' de Lord, Massa Bryant ! I came near 
passin' you ! You come right along wid me. Dey is 
fixin' up a party to pursue you down dar in Spartan- 
burg. Dey ain't half an hour behind me. Miss Laura 
said 1 was to come along to tell you. Dis note's from 
her, and '11 give you all de statistic. Come along with 
me, quick ! " 

Together we spurred along the road to beyond Green's 
Hill; then turning to the north, under Caucus' direc- 
tion, who had been through this country before, we fol- 
lowed a little mountain path until we reached the stream 
called Otter Creek, which I believe connects with the 
French Broad River further on. The country here was 
very wild, and our horses were quite tired, though they 
were fresh when we started, we having ridden over thirty 
miles that night 

As soon as morning came, we turned from the road into 
the bushes, where we could hardly be discovered, made a 
fire, and after eating a breakfast which I had brought 
with me (though Caucus had brought a much more 
elaborate meal with him), and tethering the horses, we 
lay down to rest. 

I was so worn out that it was long after mid-day when 
I awoke with a start of misery. The negro snored con- 
tentedly by my side ; the horses, a little way off, browsed 
upon the grass about 'them. What had happened to me ? 
I knew some sorrow had overtaken me. After a moment 
the scene brought my loss home to me. My vvife, my 
companion, my sweetheart, was parted from me, perhaps 
forever ! 

This recalled to me the note that Caucus had brought 
from her. The light had been too dim to read it when 



112 HOW I ESCAPED. 

slumber fell upon me. I hurriedly tore open the epistle. 
It read as follows : 

" Monday Evening. 

" My Darling Husband : I send these hurried lines to warn you 
that a party is being collected to pursue you. This ought to reach 
you about an hour ahead of them. They can hardly take the road 
before that time has passed. Your pistol shot attracted some men 
riding along the road. Bassett was able to tell them, and direct their 
movements. Thank God, my sister Belle had no hand in putting 
these bloodhounds on your track. Oh, my darling Lawrence, how 
I shall pray for you to-night ! Bere.t of your presence, I feel like a 
widow now— that these are a widow's tears that fall upon this paper. 
Guard your life, for it is my life, my husband ! God grant that we 
may meet again, is the one prayer that will go up to heaven, my own, 
my darling one, from your loving, despairing wife, 

" Laura Peyton Bryant. 

" I sii^ my new name, dearest, for the first time. Oh ! God pro- 
tect you ! L." 

I had seen the dear handwriting many times before, 
but never had it despair in it like this, the first, perhaps 
the last note I should ever receive from my wife. 

My eyes filled with tears as I cursed my selfish passion 
that had caused this beautiful creature to risk her happi- 
ness on the existence of the hunted creature that I now 
was. As I re-read the letter, and the significance of the 
words, " Guard your life — for it is my life, my husband ! " 
came fully to me, I determined to use a circumspection, 
forethought, and prudence in my movements through the 
dark and bloody land of the guerilla and bushwhacker 
I was now coming to, that for my own sake I should 
hardly have contemplated. 

I awakened the negro with some difficulty. }X first he 
seemed astonished, but after a moment recollected, and 
said. " Fo' de Lord ! at first I reckoned I was out coon 
huntin', Massa Bryant, but now I 'members dat you an 
me is de coons, an' somebody else is de hunters." 

I directed Caucus to get us something to eat, which he 
did very quickly, as we thought it safer to make no fire 
and eat some of what was already cooked in our knap- 
sacks. 

While we were doing this I questioned Caucus, and 
learned that there were probably about six men in the 
party pursuing us; that he knew the country quite well, 
having hunted over it when living with Laura's aunt 
years before; his acquaintance with the country roads and 



HOW I ESCAPED. II3 

topography of the neighborhood going pretty accurately 
as far as the boundaries of Yancey County, about twenty 
miles from where we were. Beyond that point his knowl- 
edge was vague, uncertain and muddled. 

I had a general idea of the main lines of travel to the 
gaps in the Blue Ridge myself, and pondered long upon 
the route I should take. At first I thought of going 
directly west via Asheville into Tennessee ; but that 
would place me well south of the Union lines between 
Knoxville and Chattanooga, and every highway between 
those two places was filled with detachments of Con- 
federate soldiers. I abandoned, but reluctantly, the 
route via Asheville, as it was much the more direct and 
easier to travel. Had I not done so, the information 
that Caucus brought me from the road over which we 
had come the night before would have caused me to 
abandon the Asheville route. For while I was pondering 
the black had sneaked cautiously down to the highway, 
from which he returned in a state of great excitement. 

" Great gosh ! Dey's on our scent, Massa Bryant," he 
said. 

" Who ? " 

" Dem Home Guardians from Spartanburg." 

'* Home Guards. How do you know that ? " 

" Seed der tracks — seed 'em in de road — de marks of 
der bosses." 

" What makes you think they are from Spartanburg ? " 

" Seed de off fore shoe of de horse Miss Belle rode 
yesterday — it war broken. One ob dem fellahs took 
Belle's horse to ride last night, and dar's de print of a 
broken off fore shoe in de road in front ob us. Reckon 
dey's gone on to Marion to rouse 'em up to look for us. " 

" How many were they ? " 

" Three, sah ! " 

*' I thought you said the party of Home Guards num- 
bered six ? " 

" So I did, sah. Reckon de oders of dem went off de 
Asheville road to gibe us a deal if we come out dat way. 
I don't feel quite comfortable, sah ! " 

" Neither do I, Caucus," I replied, as I saw another 
avenue of escape cut off, that by Marion — the main town 
of McDowell County, in which we now were. 

" Look here, Cauk," said I, " do you know any by- 



114 HOW 1 ESCAPED. 

path or mountain road leading from here north, between 
Asheville and Marion ? " 

"Yes, sah. One by Three Forks." 

" Where's that ? " 

"About twenty miles from heah, on de borders of 
Yancey County." 

" And after that do you know the way to the north ? " 

*' No, sah ; but I's heerd folks speak about it. Dar's 
a place called Mitchell." 

" Any gap to go through the mountains into Tennes- 
see ? " 

" Don't know, sah. Reckon dar is. Dar's a riber up 
dar called de 'Chuckey. " 

" You mean the Nolachucky, don't you ? " 

*' Don't know, sah. I neber heard it called nothin' but 
de 'Chuckey." 

" Very well," said I, after some thought. " We'll go 
to Three Forks to-night," for I had already made up my 
mind to try and get through into Mitchell, a border 
county of North Carolina on the Blue Ridge, and then 
by going almost due west through the mountains into 
East Tennessee, I should strike Knoxville. 

" Better not start till dark, sah," remarked Caucus. 
" Might meet dose Home Guardians on de back track," 

" Can you find the way at night ? " 

" Sure, Massa Bryant." 

" Very well, then ; we'll leave at dusk." 

This we accordingly did after making our supper with- 
out lighting a fire, as the forethought of my wife had 
given me cooked provisions to last me several days, and 
Caucus had taken a good stock for himself when he left 
in pursuit of me. 

I placed the precious letter from my darling Laura 
along with the few papers I carried with me, among them 
the passport belonging to the detective, Bassett. This 
might be of use to me in case of detention by Confeder- 
ate scouts. 

I knew that we were now approaching rapidly the bor- 
der country where some were Secessionists and others 
Union people, and that v/ith each step we took our dan- 
ger from bushwhackers and scouts increased. We had 
more evidences of this as we progressed. A burnt cabin 
by the roadside, a destroyed corn-crib, and the manner 



HOW 1 ESCAPED. II5 

in which a man we met in the road took to the woods 
all showed me that we were gradually getting into the 
bloody ground of western North Carolina and East Ten- 
nessee, where neighbor fought with neighbor and brother 
slew brother. 

Soon after starting we turned to the north, leaving 
Marion on our right, and I gave a sigh of relief as Cau- 
cus informed me that he " reckoned that we had now left 
de road where de Home Guardians might come back on 
us." 

I knew in case of detention by Confederate troops that 
I must have some definite object in my journey, and de- 
termined to be traveling about buying up mules for the 
Confederate army. 1 explained this to Caucus, telling 
him he must pass as my servant; and as we rode along 
asked him, as there were a good many Union men in this 
part of the State, if he could not recollect, in his experi- 
ence here before the war, some one that he thought 
would now be true to the Old Flag. 

" Yes sirree ! I's takin' you to one now — up at Three 
Forks." 

" What makes you think he is a Unionist ? " 

" Wall, he corned down heah when he war a boy, sah, 
and dough he's trapped and hunted in de mountains 
heah for thirty or forty years, dey always call him afore 
de war ' Ole Yank.' Reckon he must be Ole Yank 
still, sah," 

" Perhaps so," returned I. "We'll try Old Yank, any- 
way. I like the sound of the name." 

We traveled on till nearly morning over some very 
rough country, for Caucus took us by every out-of-the- 
way path he could think of, and after having gone 
nearly twenty-five miles, as near as I could judge, the 
black announced that he reckoned we was " nigh onto 
Three Forks." 

As the morning advanced and the light became 
stronger. Caucus began to look about anxiously, and 
muttered : 

" Can't be possible I corned wrong ! " Then suddenly 
cried : " Crackey, I knowed I was right, Massa Bryant, 
Why dar's Ole Yank's dorg, wid de cut-off tail. Hi, 
Badger ! " This last to a snarling hound, who came run- 
ning out of a farm-yard to bark at us. 



Il6 HOW I ESCAPED. 

At sight of us, a girl coming out with a milk pail in her 
hand hurriedly reentered the house, and a moment 
after " Ole Yank " himself, gun in hand, confronted us as 
we came up to his front door. 

" Why, dar's de ole man hisself. 'Clare to goodness, 
Mister Yank, I was skeered you war dead ! Don't you 
'member Cauk — dat used to carry de grub for you out 
huntin' ? " 

" Wall ! " said the old gentleman. *' I guess I do — 
never forgot that h'ar of yourn. Dreamt of it one night, 
— woke up, and found my hay-rick on fire. What brings 
you up here ? These aren't no good times to travel." 
And the old man looked suspiciously at me. 

From the moment he used the word " guess," I felt 
pretty sure he came from the North. 

" That's a rather dangerous title the people give you 
about here," I said, to test my idea. 

" Yas, they've called me Ole Yank, 'fore the war, and I 
sticks up for the name now. Have you anything to say 
agin it ? " Here he looked significantly at his gun. 

" No ! " replied I, " but I want to speak to you," and 
without more ado I told him the truth about myself. 

'* Come right in here, I likes to look at fellows like 
you ! " He grabbed my hand, ushered us into the house 
and cried out : " Gals, get a right smart breakfast for 
this gentleman ! " 

His daughters, three comely, bright-eyed, lithe but 
buxom mountain maidens, sprang to do his bidding, 
for " Old Yank " was an autocrat in his house. 

After breakfast I explained my plans to him, and he 
said: "You stay here till to-morrow morning. You'll 
need a rest before you tackle the job ahead of you, for 
it's a powerful nasty one. I'll think over your matter, 
and give you a leetle good advice." 

To this I readily consented. I explained my position 
and plans to him, and he answered me in about these 
words : 

" To most men I'd say go back — to you I says go 
ahead, sonny, it's your only chance. From here on every 
step you take becomes more dangerous. But Lord ! boys 
like you has to take some chances. Now I'll help you 
all I kin. You'd better light out early to-morrow morning 
to Tittle's place. It's about four hours' travel north of 



HOW I ESCAPED, I17 

here, on the borders of Mitchell County. Give him 
this grip," here he seized my hand, " He'll return it so," 
with this he grabbed me again. "Then he'll tell you 
what you'd better do next. Remember that grip, my lad ; 
the man that can't return it to you in these parts, look 
out for, and git ready to have the drop on him. Take a 
paper and make yourself comfortable, while I do the 
chores." 

He handed me the Raleigh Weekly Standard, the office 
of which was afterward demolished by a mob of Con- 
federates. We passed a very comfortable day here, 
Caucus looking after our horses. 

After supper in the evening, the girls drew around the 
fire, together v/ith the old gentleman, who amused us with 
anecdotes of his early life in the mountains and some 
original remarks upon the war. 

Then one of the girls said : " Dad, suppose some of 
the rebs come here to-night, what v/ill you do with this 
gentleman ? You know they don't like you any too well, 
and I think you ought to have some plan to guard against 
any surprise in the middle of the night." 

"Wall," said Old Yank, "they do come round here 
quite often. They seem to have a grudge agin me. 
P'raps it's fur my name ; but then I alius manage to git 
along without much trouble. Why, one night half a 
dozen of them fellers came ridin' up here an' said they'd 
come fur me, an' I'd have to go into the army; but I jest 
reached 'round the door and pulled out my Henry rifle, 
an' my gals understood it an' got their double-barreled 
shotguns, an' I jest told them boys I had lived too long 
in the mountains to be scared that way, an' if they wanted 
to stop in my house they was welcome, but if they laid 
hands on an ole man like me they'd never do it agin, fur 
my gals had the bead on 'em. One of 'em said they 
didn't want any trouble ; all they wanted was to get some 
supper. You see," continued the old man, with a chuckle, 
" they knowed mighty well I would shoot, an' I reckon 
they didn't want to be laid out jist then." 

I said I didn't wish to expose them to any danger. 
Rather than that I would leave their house. But Old 
Yank remarked, sternly : " Sonny, you stay right here ! 
I kin take keer of myself, an' you, too ! " 

Then he led me to a bed that seemed indeed luxuri- 



ir8 HOW I ESCAPED. 

ous after the night I had passed in the woods. Caucus 
made himself comfortable in the stable with the horses. 
He said he could " take to de woods quicker from de barn 
den de house." • 

CHAPTER XV. 

THROUGH THE GAPS. 

The next morning one of the girls came hurriedly in, 
and after a whispered conversation with her father, the 
old gentleman said : " It don't seem to be hospitable to 
tell you to git, but you light right out. My darter says 
she heerd from a passing nigger that a squad of Mor- 
gan's cavalry is coming along this road. Keep dead 
north 'till you strike the bend of Cane River ; then go 
northeast, and a little before you get to Flat Rock in 
Mitchell County you'll strike Tittle's place, what I told 
you about." 

Under these circumstances, Caucus having brought 
the horses up, we started out at a pretty lively jog, though 
we could not make very fast time, for it was raining 
heavily and the road became very muddy. Meeting one 
or two people, of whom I inquired if there were any mules 
to be obtained about here, as I was getting them for the 
Confederate Government, we passed along, I saying I 
was in a hurry as I must get back to Raleigh in a little 
over a week. 

During the day I spoke to the negro, telling him that 
he had better return to South Carohna with the horses, 
as, the country being mountainous, I would walk almost 
as fast as I could ride, and that the dangers ahead of us 
were very great. 

*' No, sah ! " returned Caucus, showing the whites of 
his eyes. " Dis chile neber goes back to Carolina. 
Dars freedom ahead of him, and he's gwine to git dar, 
sure, dis time. Can't turn me back now, Massa Bryant, 
not eben wid a six-shooter ; I goes wid you ! " 

And so he did for nearly two^ months without a word 
of complaint. 

After traveling up hill and down dale for a couple of 
hours, we came to the bend of Cane River which Caucus 
had seen before ; then swinging off along a bridle-path, 



HOW I ESCAPED, IIO 

that led to the northeast, after making several inquiries 
of people who were armed and looked at us with sus- 
picion, I found myself in view of my stopping place, and 
to my surprise saw two Union soldiers standing in front 
of the house. 1 was informed by Mrs. Tittle as I rode 
up that her husband had gone to the mill for grist. She 
seemed very embarrassed until I came up to her and 
gave her the grip that Old Yank had shown me. 

At this, apparently having lost all fear of me, she said 
that these two soldiers had escaped from Salisbury 
prison, and were making their way to the Union lines. 

I suggested to these men that for their own safety they 
had better immediately change their clothes for those of 
ordinary citizens, and they, having a few greenbacks in 
their pockets, managed to buy from the family enough to 
clothe them. 

Soon after this Mr. Tittle returned, and told us we had 
better be on our way, as some cavalrymen were riding 
about the country looking up deserters. 

He said : " The best thing you can do is to go back, 
because it will take sand in your gizzard and no weak 
knees to tramp between here and Knoxville, for the 
rebels around would just as soon shoot you as a chicken, 
and the Unionists ain't no better." 

I said : " I must go through ! " 

" Very well ; but make up your mind it is better to get 
out of the highways and go over the hills and mountains. 
You d better give up your horses.'^ 

I said that as long as I had a horse I would keep to 
the highways. 

" All right, then ; if you are bound on the job, you had 
better go straight up to the north to Little Rock Creek, 
leaving Bakersville to your left, for if you go near 
Bakersville, you'll be nabbed, sure ! " 

Thanking him for his advice and directions, Caucus and 
I hurried along on our way, into a driving rain. This 
storm, as we went along, became thicker and more blind- 
ing. Caucus had left all his knowledge of the country 
behind him long ago^ After passing along several 
bridle-paths that seemed to lead nowhere in particular, 
and just missing descending into a little valley in which 
we fortunately in time saw a squad of six mounted men, 
doubtless Confederate scouts, who would have done us 



I20 HOW I ESCAPED. 

no good, we turned up into some thick undergrowth, 
the boughs of which made an uncertain protection from 
the wind and the storm. Here we built a fire, and tried 
to dry our clothes. Then we got something to eat and 
lay down to sleep exhausted, downhearted, wet, and 
miserable. 

The next morning I was awakened by the negro shak- 
ing himself like a dog, and slapping his arms about. 
It had become quite cold. The rain had changed into 
snow, of which there was a slight fall now upon the 
ground. 

'' By gosh ! I mus' git somewhar, or I'll freeze to 
death,"' said Caucus. " The snow is mighty uncomfort- 
able." 

"Yes," I replied, "we must get somewhere, but I 
don't like to travel in this snow. It will enable us to be 
tracked." 

However, getting on our horses, after taking a bite of 
breakfast, together with some hot coffee that we suc- 
ceeded in making over our camp-fire, we pushed along. 
Two hours afterward we could see from an elevated 
portion of the road a clearing and some farm-houses. 
These we made for, because the storm had so increased it 
was now unendurable. Upon reaching one of the houses, 
we saw no one but women. They appeared to be some- 
what frightened, and immediately asked if I was a 
soldier. I told them I was not now on a warlike mis- 
sion ; that they need not be uneasy. Other women now 
made their appearance, and one of them seemed to be 
in such distress that I made some remark to her about it. 

" Distress ? " she replied. " My heavens ! don't you 
know they killed my husband the other day before my 
eyes ! " 

I turned away from her, unable to say anything to 
such grief. The others informed me that he had given 
information to some of the Union scouts about there by 
which a Confederate soldier who was home on a fur- 
lough from the army of Virginia had been captured. 
That for this a party of bushwhackers had taken him 
out of his wife's arms in the middle of the night, and shot 
him to death in front of the door. 

In this place the storm compelled us to remain all that 
day and night. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 12 1 

Anxious to get away, however, Caucus and I saddled 
up early in the morning and again tried to force our way 
in the direction that Tittle had told us to take. The 
storm came up again, and for three days we wandered 
about this part of the country, twice camping in the 
open, and once sleeping in the house of a man who 
boasted to me that he had helped lay out in the last two 
weeks three or four Unionists. With this man I made 
a desperate attempt to bargain for mules " for the Con- 
federate Government." He had two or three, but I need 
hardly say that my price was too low for him. 

On the fourth day the storm cleared, the sun came out, 
and we turned our faces westward. We had come much 
further north than we had expected, having wandered out 
of our path and being almost on the borders of Watauga 
and Mitchell counties. 

Passing through a little gap in the mountains, we 
came on a plain that was a kind of base to the mountain 
ranges near us that lay on either hand about two miles 
away. Here we passed a farm owned by a gentleman 
who was an officer in the Confederate army, and I 
pumped a man working on the place about the roads be- 
yond. He had heard that some soldiers were in the 
neighborhood, but didn't exactly know where they were. 

We went southward from this place, following a narrow 
road, from which the snow had nearly disappeared. With 
this I was delighted, because our tracks in it would al- 
ways be a direction for any party who wished to follow us. 

After half an hour's travel we came to a large open 
field, where, to my astonishment, I heard the firing of 
musketry. 

Caucus whispered : " Reckon we'd better stop and 
take a squint at dat noise ! " 

Dismounting and sheltering ourselves behind a rail 
fence, we were able to discover the location of two or 
three men by the flashes and smoke from their guns. 
Beyond them, and separated from them by a deep 
ravine, we saw one or two other men return the fire 
from a clump of laurel trees. By the uniform of those 
nearest to us I judged that they were Confederate cav- 
alrymen. The others seemed to be dressed in blue. 

I had hardly made this observation, when I heard a 
yell from Caucus. " Golly ! Dey's after us ! " and look- 



122 HOW I ESCAPED. 

ino^ down the road perceived five or six troopers coming 
along the tracks we had made in the melting snow. I 
might have paused, surrendered to them, and tried to 
have made out my case as being all right ; but somehow 
or other, knowing that they were my enemies, my pres- 
ence of mind left me, and, followed by the negro, I re- 
mounted my horse and spurred on my way. This was 
probably the worst thing I could have done, for a volley 
from the Confederate cavalry overtook us, and killed my 
horse under me. Crying to Caucus to follow me, which 
he did, jumping from his horse for that purpose, I climbed 
over the rail fence, ran through the undergrowth and 
went down into the ravine, which I crossed to the other 
side. 

Here I had a moment's breathing space, in which to 
regret my lack of presence of mind. Had I remained 
and faced the Confederate cavalry, I could probably 
have persuaded them that I was all right. Now, having 
fled from them, no such chance was open to me. I 
looked at our poor horses, one dead, and the other in the 
possession of the Confederates, and had the sorry satis- 
faction of knowing that, with the exception of the papers 
on my person, my two pistols, and the money in my 
pocket, all my worldly goods were in the hands of my 
pursuers. However, armed as we were, for I had given 
one of my six-shooters to the negro, I concluded that 
we could defend the ravine against any horsemen who 
should attempt to cross it. These thoughts had hardly 
passed through my mind, when I heard a voice near me, 
and turning round saw a man in blue uniform. 

He said : " I reckon, you are on the same side of the 
gulch as we are, stranger. Come right along, and help 
us stand the cavalrymen off ! " 

Caucus and I silently followed him. In the under- 
growth were three other men, one of them in the uni- 
form of a lieutenant in the Federal army. He was armed 
with a Henry rifle, and replying J:o the fire of three or 
four Confederate troopers, who were about a hundred 
and fifty yards off. on the other side of the ravine. The 
lieutenant, using his gun with great accuracy, kept the 
Confederates at bay, and injured one of them. One 
of his men, however, was wounded also. The Confed- 
erates drew off. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 1 23 

" Now, boys," he said, " we must get through to 
Steiner's as quickly as possible, before those chaps can 
get around. Follow me ! " 

Two of us assisted the wounded man, who had a ball 
through his leg and appeared to be in a good deal of 
pain, and we hurriedly put off by a mountain path, 
ascended quite a hill, and, after traveling about three 
miles, descended into a valley occupied by Steiner, a 
man celebrated in that region for his Union proclivities. 
The Confederates had had him out to hang him once 
or twice, to make him tell the hiding-place of Union 
refugees, but the old fellow was of such grit that they 
became ashamed of torturing him, and always let him 

^°- 

He was mending a wagon in his blacksmith's shop 

when we came up. 

" Wal," said the old man, "you didn't git out this time, 
did you ? You North Carolina Union boys, born right 
here, an' knowing every part of the way from here to 
Knoxville, couldn't get through Morgan's cavalry ! " 

"We will do it next time," said the lieutenant. "We 
have brought back a wounded man to leave him with 
you." 

"All right ; I'll take care of him ; but who are these 
two strangers ? " 

" I am darned if I know, but I reckon they are on our 
side, and have got sand in them. They helped us stand 
off Morgan's cavalry. As for the nigger, he's a red- 
head, and that's a true sign of fight. This gentleman's 
his master, I reckon." 

" Now," he said, turning to me, " I suppose you are 
bound the same way we are. I know every step of the road 
from here to Knoxville, and if you have lost your horses 
you had better join us, as five are better than two, to 
stand off any scouting parties. Your horses would not 
have done you much good from now on, as you would 
have to take to the mountains, for none of our side can 
travel the roads and live to get through." 

I explained to the lieutenant and Steiner exactly my 
position, and how I came to be where he found me. 

" Very well, Mr. Bryant," he said ; " I can put you 
through if any man can. Is it a go ? " and he offered me 
his hand. 



124 HOW I ESCAPED. 

In return, I gave him the grip Old Yank had shown me, 
and Steiner said : " That's the talk ! Now I knows you 
are square and right." 

The party, however, was too worn out to travel that 
evening, and we all went to sleep with our pistols under 
our heads or by our sides, for Morgan's men might be 
upon us again before morning. 

We were now in a very rough country. The Blue Ridge 
towered up range above range before us, and presented 
a grand spectacle, separated by gaps through which the 
water courses ran toward the Tennessee, pointing out 
to us the way to the Union lines through which many of 
these streams ultimately ran. The lieutenant knew every 
gap and water course in these mountains, and every inch 
of the country to Knoxville beyond them. This was for- 
tunate for us, as Longstreet's scouts or foragers were all 
through this region, having been thrown out from his 
army now before Knoxville. The lieutenant had been 
detailed to go through this part of the country to gain all 
the information he could for the commanding officers of 
the Union troops in the valley of the Tennessee. 

Though a cavalryman, he had taken this perilous 
journey on foot, as he could travel with even more celer- 
ity and less danger through these mountains in that man- 
ner than on horseback. He was active, fearless, and an 
untiring walker. 

Our nrst tramp was about twelve miles, to the house 
of Mr. Middleton, a Union man. Here the lieutenant 
expected to meet two more men who were going to 
attempt to pass through the lines. The day was misty 
and foggy, and a little snow fell. At six o'clock in the 
afternoon we stopped at a house near the roadside, and 
had some hot coffee, made as usual in this region from 
chicory. About seven o'clock we started again in the 
rain, and two hours afterward moved down into a little 
valley about half a mile in width, the land being culti- 
vated by two or three different farmers. The lieutenant told 
me that one of the farmers had a son in the Union army, 
while his neighbor had one in the Confederate, as was 
often the case in the border States. 

After leaving this place about a mile and a half, we 
met two citizens on horseback. One of them asked us 
where we were bound. We told him most anywhere. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 1 25 

He replied. *' You will meet with a great big hinderer 
that will bother you, if you don't mind." 

" What is that ? " asked the lieutenant. 

"The Regulars." 

" Who and what are Regulars ? " 

" Oh ! they just go about and catch anybody they can 
lay their hands on. Sometimes they take a man out and 
shoot him ; sometimes they hang him. A hundred yards 
from here we can show you a tree where they hung a 
man. Our advice is for you to watch out, or they will get 
you sartin." 

With these words the two men rode off, but I noticed 
that the lieutenant had his pistol out and watched them. 
He told me he thought they might be the advance guard 
of the Regulars. He kept his eye on them, so that if 
they did attempt to fire on us as they rode away, he would 
have "the drop" on them. After we had gone on a few 
yards, the lieutenant said that we had better leave the 
roads at once and get up on the mountains. To this, 
knowing the desperate character of the so-called " Regu- 
lars," we all assented, and taking a very circuitous route 
through the roughest of ravines and over the highest and 
rockiest of hills, we arrived at Middleton's about eleven 
o'clock in the evening. 

Middleton knew our lieutenant, and invited us into the 
house, which was on a little elevated ground at the fork 
of two roads. Here we found the two men who were 
going with us through to Knoxville. They lived in an 
adjoining county, and had been dodging about for several 
months to keep out of the Confederate army. This made 
our company seven men, with the lieutenant to guide 
us, in whom I soon began to have very great confi- 
dence. 

The country about us, Mr. Middleton said, was alive 
with Confederate scouts and bushwhackers, and he rec- 
ommended that we should not remain there that night. 
After consultation we decided to take his advice, and to 
get an old hunter, Zeke Carter, to pilot us across some 
twelve or fifteen miles to a road intercepting the one we 
had left. Zeke was an old bear hunter, and lived in a log 
hut about two miles up in the hills. Our host volunteered 
to guide us there, and resuming our walk, after crossing 
a stream, we reached Zeke's house. A faint light coming 



126 HOW I ESCAPED. 

through the crevasses between the logs showed us he 
was at home. 

Middleton hallooed, and Zeke came to the door. Then 
we agreed, after some haggling, to pay him twenty dol- 
lars for his services — a sum of money that made the old 
mountaineer's eyes twinkle. He was a hard-featured, 
stoop-shouldered, long, gray-bearded customer, with 
piercing black eyes. He mvited us into his cabin, while 
he cooked the rations for his trip, which he told us would 
last, probably, three or four days. 

Upon the walls of his domicile were deer-horns, and 
bear and coonskins, which told of the old fellow's suc- 
cess with his rifle in the mountains. 

Leaving his house about midnight, he remarked : 
" Well, boys, we've got a good-sized hill to climb ! " and 
shouldering his old-fashioned rifle, told us to follow him, 
which we did, in single file. After a terrific tramp of 
about ten miles over rocks that cut my boots into pieces, 
and once getting lost from the party, and having a 
great deal of trouble to find them in the darkness, I, 
together with the rest, came to what Zeke said was a 
good place to camp. 

This was uttered in low tones, to avoid attracting the 
notice of bushwhackers, for our route led into the ** Sweet 
Water valley," which Zeke remarked was one of their 
breeding places. 

We were nearly at the end of our journey for the night, 
when Zeke cried : " Halt, Gol darn you ! Halt ! " 

" Well, what is it ? " came out of the darkness from a 
man a few paces in advance of us. 

" Who are you?" inquired Zeke. 

" Well, we are scouting around, and, if you say so, we 
are friends." 

" How many of you ? " 

" Only two ! " 

" Where are you going ? " asked the lieutenant, coming 
forward. 

" Oh, we're going about, and I shouldn't wonder 
if you were like u.s. Ain't you men going to the 
lines ? " 

To this the lieutenant cautiously replied that we were 
taking in the country, but Zeke, who was of an impatient 
disposition, said, " By the etarnal ! there's no use fooling 



HOW I ESCAPED. 127 

around here ! You come with us, and we'll soon know 
you, or you will know us ! " 

As we were eight men and they were but two, hesita- 
tion on their part was out of the question. We treated 
them as prisoners, and soon marched them to the spot 
that old Zeke had picked out for our camp. This was a 
level spot of ground in horse-shoe shape, about fifty feet in 
diameter, standing against a rocky cliff, over which a 
stream of pure mountain water descended. 

This place overlooked a little valley, between the Iron 
and Yellow mountains, and was much frequented by hunt- 
ers and travelers, as it afforded such fine water. Upon 
examination, the two men we had overtaken proved 
themselves all right, and, appointing pickets to relieve 
each other, we lay down, worn out with nearly twenty- 
two hours' steady tramping. In fact, as Caucus remarked, 
as he snuggled up to the camp fire, " Dis road to freedom 
am a mighty hard one to trabel." 

Too exhausted to sleep, I lay awake, for some time my 
thoughts turning back over the mountains to the south 
of me, trying to imagine how my wife had fared in the 
two weeks I had already been away from her. 

When I awoke it was mid-day. As we prepared break- 
fast, I looked out over the ledge above which we were 
encamped, and seemed to see a thousand mountains in 
this Switzerland of America. 

Our guide now told us that it was about seven miles 
over the hills to the place where he would leave us. 
These seven miles seemed an immense distance to me. 
My feet were sore, my shoes were coming to pieces. My 
appearance was that of a not over genteel tramp, as I had 
not shaved since leaving Spartanburg. However, I fol- 
lowed the party down the steep descents and up the high 
hills again, repeating the operation several times before 
we reached our stopping place. 

In about half an hour's travel we came to a public road, 
which we were compelled to cross. 

(doming from the direction of French Broad River in 
Tennessee, it ran into Mitchell County in North Carolina. 
Old Zeke instructed us to walk over this road backward, 
so that our tracks would mislead people as to the direc- 
tion in which we were traveling. 

After this piece of strategy nothing happened of 



128 HOW I ESCAPED. 

importance until we came in sight of an old clump of 
trees, when old Zeke told us of a terrific combat he had 
had with a bear, which had nearly whipped him. In 
fact, the old man's arms had not even now entirely 
recovered from the hugs that Bruin had given them. 

Passing a simple shanty occupied by a squatter, who 
apparently was too old to fight, but of whose feelfngs and 
sympathies there was no doubt, for he cursed us for 
Union men as we tramped past, we paused to look at a 
valley below, through which coursed the beautiful Doe 
River. It must have been eight or ten miles away, but 
looked very lovely in the distance with the afternoon 
sunlight upon it. As we trudged up to the crest of the 
hill, on leaving this spot, the lieutenant suddenly paused. 

I thought he had noticed some of the enemy ahead, 
but instead of that, he pointed to the west and said : 
" The first sight of Tennessee ! " 

Looking toward the place he indicated, we could 
see the Bald Mountain of the " Smoky Ridge " that 
divided North Carolina from its more western neighbor. 

While drinking in the view of this, to us, "Promised 
Land," old Zeke said : " Wal, boys, I'm going to get 
back to my shanty, but I'll shake a fist with you all, first. 
Keep your eyes open and your powder dry ! That's what 
you want. Good-by ! " 

With this the old frontiersman turned upon his tracks, 
and striding down the path, was soon out of our sight. 

It was now getting dark, and we determined after 
dinner that we would start again on our way. The route 
was directly over the ridge of the mountains, and we had 
but little difficulty in making the three miles, which 
brought us to the house occupied by Mr, Cunningham, a 
good Union man to whom we had been directed by the 
guide, 

Cunningham advised us to be very careful and not 
travel by the road, as he had heard of several scouts or 
Confederate cavalrymen being in the immediate neigh- 
borhood ; so after supper we concluded to go on at once 
through the night. 

Tempted, however, by the easy traveling on this high- 
way, we disregarded Cunningham's advice and determined 
to travel upon it, though it greatly increased our risk. We 
kept on close together, sending Caucus a hundred yards 



HOW I ESCAPED. 1 29 

ahead to act as scout, as we knew a negro would create 
less suspicion with Confederate soldiers than a white 
man. 

We had hardly gone this way half an hour when Cau- 
cus came softly back to us and remarked : " Golly ! dar's 
voices ahead ob us." 

The lieutenant went with him and reconnoitered ; but 
hearing nothing, we started on. 

Hardly had we reached the top of the ridge and be 
come outlined on the sky, when two or three shots whizzed 
past us from a clump of trees. We knew that we 
were ambushed, but could see nothing of our enemies, 
though another volley came in our direction. The night 
was dark, and, by thie lieutenant's orders, we had thrown 
ourselves on the ground ; consequently none of us were 
hart. 

" Boys ! " said the lieutenant, "all of you shoot two or 
three barrels, and we will make them think there is a 
'whole company here." 

The banging of our pistols sounded like the regular file 
firing from a platoon. 

" Another shot each, and then follow me ! " 

We fired one more volley, which was returned, then 
followed the lieutenant, who left the road and started up 
the mountain. After a little, the lieutenant said : " Now 
boys, hurry to the gap, and get through to the other side 
of this range. It will be some five or six miles out of 
our way, but we must get there before those fellows ; 
otherwise we will have another fight for it." 

He had been through this portion of the country be- 
fore, and knew the roads almost by instinct ; so up hill and 
down hill we followed him with sore and .weary feet. 

This was especially so in my case. I had not been 
accustoned to traveling on foot, and kept up with 
great difficulty with the others, for my shoes, being worn 
out, filled with gravel and dirt at every step. But at 
last coming to a little running stream, we all sat down 
for a short rest, and I washed my feet in the cold water 
and wrapped them in cloth torn from the lining of my 
coat. ■ This relieved them somewhat, and we again 
started on our journey. Nearing the gap about day- 
break, to our consternation there were three or four 
lights right down in it. 

9 



130 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" Camp-fires," said the lieutenant. " We can't get 
through there, and this is the only place we can cross 
without going around by Littleton's, three miles more. 
Shall we try it to-night, boys ? " 

The general verdict Avas against this, for we were in 
no condition for rapid traveling, and if discovered by a 
superior force, would be sure to be captured. So we 
turned out of the path, and, finding a place in a deep 
ravine, made a camp, though we dared not light any 
fire. 

After drawing straws to see who should stand guard, 
all but the picket lay down, and I soon forgot that 1 was 
a refugee in the mountains of North Carolina. 

It seemed to me that I had hardly slept a minute 
before the guard came and touched me on the shoulder. 
I woke with a start. Some Confederate troopers were 
riding along the road not two hundred yards from us. 

Fortunately they did not notice us, and about dusk 
next day we resumed our journey to the house of a- 
family who lived in the gap, and were friends of cur lieu- 
tenant. 

They advised us not to rem.iin, as the cavalry would 
undoubtedly return before long, and recommended us 
to go to Jim Boles' house, who would direct us on our 
way. 

As we came near that gentleman's front fence, Mr. 
Boles came to the door, gun in hand, and shouted, " Who's 
thar ? " 

" Come out here, Jim, I want to see you ! " said the 
lieutenant. 

" Pshaw ! " returned Boles. " That trick is played too 
often. What do you want, and who are you ? " 

" 1 am Lieutenant Hanson, of the Fifth Kentucky 
Union Cavalry, whom you well know." 

"■ Oh, yes ; I recognize your voice," replied Boles. 
" Come right in, and bring your crowd with you. It's 
lucky you applied to me, or you would have been in the 
Rebs' hands inside of an hour. There's a camp of 'em 
about three miles from here, and you have got to go around 
by Mix's place." This meant a walk of about fifteen 
extra miles. 

Boles' two daughters, sixteen and eighteen, strong and 
healthy, volunteered to pilot us. Our lieutenant was 



HOW I ESCAPED. 131 

not exactly sure of this part of the route, so he said, '* All 
right, girls; I'll take you as guides, but you must let me 
pay for it ! " 

" No, sifee, not a cent ! " they cried. " Let's go now ! " 

" What, to-night ? We are fearfully tired." 

" If you don't go now, you won't go at all. You'll be 
bagged sure in the daytime." 

There was nothing for it, tired, worn out and hungry 
as we were, but to travel fifteen long and weary miles 
that night. The girls said they would go in advance 
about thirty or forty yards, carrying a white handkerchief, 
and whenevei" they waved this, we were to halt and wait 
for instructions. 

We made about three miles the first hour, without any 
interruption ; then saw two camp-fires, and the girls came 
back to us, and said we would have to go a little higher 
up the mountain in order to get through the gap without 
being discovered. Notwithstanding we did this, we soon 
came so close to these fires that we got a very good view 
of the picket on his beat. We saw a dozen tents, and 
beside them some soldiers cooking by the fire, and others 
playing cards. A few hundred yards further on the girls 
stopped and waved their handkerchiefs, then returned, 
and said there were some men on the roadside by a fire 
partially burned out. 

Taking us back a short distance, they ascended a little 
path that wound around the side of the mountains, very 
steep and difficult, but by which we soon passed the 
enemy who lay below us not three hundred feet. The 
thick bushes and flinty rocks of the path tortured my 
sore and blistered feet, continually reminding me of what 
" Old Yank " had said to me, — that "Jordan was a hard 
road to travel." Trudging along as well as I was able, at 
last we came to a bridge that crossed a mountain torrent. 

Here the lieutenant said he would wager that more 
men had been shot and killed to the square foot in this 
section, than anywhere else in the United States. 

To this pleasant assertion none of us replied. We 
were probably weighing in our minds the individual pos- 
sibilities of our being added to the number. After 
another tiresome climb, we crossed the ridge, and keep- 
ing straight down until daylight, arrived at the house of 
Mr. Mix, to whom our youthful and faithful guides pre- 



132 HOW I ESCAPED. 

sented us as guests for the day. Here we met two more 
men who were seeking to avoid conscription in the rebel 
army by making their way through the Hnes to Knox- 
viile. 

The whole party were too tired and exhausted to think 
of travehng, and we conckided to lie over with this hospi- 
table mountaineer for two days, and then, owing to the 
sickness of one of our party, a West Virginian, an addi- 
tional twenty-four hours. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THROUGH THE LINES. 

1'his delay was very welcome to me, as my feet were 
in a fearful condition and my boots were falling off 
them. 

I divided my time at this stopping place between 
sleeping and an attempt at the cobbler's trade, repairing 
my footgear with the aid of Caucus, who was much more 
expert at this work than I. 

The two girls who had piloted us so devotedly over 
the mountains remained here a few days, Mr. Mix 
offering to take them home again in his wagon, 

P>ery night we gathered around the big log fire in the 
house, telling stories about our adventures during the 
war. On one of these evenings I was astonished to 
hear our lieutenant state that he had had a brother in 
the Confederate army who was killed at Shiloh, while 
leading his company against a Federal battery. But 
it was thus throughout western North Carolina — family 
was opposed to family, and brother was against brother. 

On the third night of our rest at this place the lieu- 
tenant and Mr. Mix both became very anxious. They said 
that we had remained so long here that the chances were 
that some Confederate troop must pass soon ; conse- 
quently our guards must be constantly on the alert. 

'-' Vou see," Hanson said, "if Schofield crowds Long- 
street all his soldiers will be called in, and some will be 
bound to pass here. Now, I'm pretty sure Schofield will 
be crowding Longstreet about this time ! " 



HOW I ESCAPED. 133 

My turn for picket duty came at three in the morn- 
ing. I was posted about a hundred yards from the house 
in which our men slept, dressed and armed. The moon 
was still bright, though rapidly descending to disappear 
behind the mountain tops. 

I had watched perhaps an hour, when I heard a sound 
of horses' hoofs at a distance ; then, after listening a 
moment, the clank of sabers. I looked up the road, 
and in the full moonlight counted, perhaps half a mile 
away, twelve cavalrymen, riding leisurely toward the 
house. 

In a minute more I had aroused my party. " We can 
fix them from behind that stone wall," muttered the lieu- 
tenant. " We're nine, they're only twelve. Follow me ! " 
but as he gave this order his glance fell upon Mr. Mix's 
wife and children, and the two girls. Then he paused. 

" Don't mind us ! " muttered Mix between his set 
teeth. 

** But I must,— think of your little ones, man. If we 
whipped those fellows at your house, when we'd gone 
they'd come back and take revenge upon you and yours. 
We don't repay hospitality that way." 

" God bless you ! " cried Mrs. Mix. *' Go up that stream, 
and when the rebs go, I'll bring you all breakfast." 

" Follow me, men, quick ! " muttered our commander, 
" We'll retreat now, but we'll not retreat always ! " 

We silently followed him out of the rear of the house, 
and obeying Mrs. Mix's instructions, were concealed be- 
fore the Confederates arrived. Shortly after daybreak 
one of the girls came out and found us. She said the 
rebs had gone on, and that Mrs. Mix would now bring us 
our breakfast. This she did in about half an- hour. As 
soon as this was finished, the lieutenant ordered a start, 
and we bade our hospitable friends good-by. Though 
we tried again and again to make them accept something 
from us, for all they had done for us, this was refused, 
and the two beautiful girls even became indignant at 
our offered remuneration for their dangerous all-night 
tramp with us through the gap. 

We were now in the western part of Mitchell County, 
and had next to cross through the valley lying between 
the Nolachucky River, and the dividing line between 
Tennessee and North Carolina. A portion of our route 



134 HOW I ESCAPED. 

now lay along this stream which empties into the French 
Broad in the northern part of Cooke County, Tennessee, 
this being the most direct way to the Big Smoky or Bald 
Mountains. 

Thus we traveled until about three o'clock. At one 
point, where the' river takes a bend of nearly two miles, 
we forded it, and near the center found it some three 
feet deep. We had hardly got out and dressed, before 
two white men and a negro walked down a little path to 
the place where we had entered the stream. Our lieu- 
tenant called out and asked the men who they were, and 
what they came there for. One of them replied that 
they had seen us from a small log shanty at the top of 
the hill. They noticed that we were .not soldiers, and 
consequently thought that we were refugees. They 
were of that class themselves, and said they had come 
back from the Nolachucky gap because they had found 
it guarded, and they could not get through, witJiout going 
over the Bald Mountains, which were the highest and 
roughest in the State. 

It was evident now that we either had to run the 
gauntlet of Confederate soldiers in this gap, or do 
some of the hardest work of our journey. The men who 
gave us this information refused to go on with us, as it 
was too dangerous. 

Our lieutenant, however, said : " There's nothing like 
trying ! " and taking his advice, our whole party started 
along a road at which we had just arrived. 

Its pleasant smoothness, so different to the flinty rocks 
of the hillsides, soothed our fears of immediate danger, 
and we concluded to try it for a mile or two, though it 
was a place from which, if we encountered superior num- 
bers, there was no escape. The rushing river was on one 
side of the road, and a steep cliff upon the other. 

We had hardly proceeded more than a mile, before the 
lieutenant, who marched a hundred yards ahead of us, 
came running back, and said : " Great Scott ! half a 
dozen troopers are coming down the road. We can't 
run ; we must stand 'em off, though I fear the noise of 
the firing '11 bring a crowd of them onto us! Every man 
of you behind a rock, and obey orders ! " 

Caucus had already done this, getting into the stream, 
the bank of which and the trees on its border formed a 



HOW I ESCAPED. I35 

perfect ambush. " Come right heah, Massa Bryant ! " 
he cried, his teeth chattering with the ice-cold water that 
had been melting snow the day before. Every rock had 
its man. I had not a moment to lose, and jumped into 
the river beside the negro as the squad of Confederates 
turned the bend in the road. 

Every one held his breath, they had nearly passed us 
when, unfortunately. Caucus' teeth, stimulated by the icy 
water, began to play like castanets, making a perceptible 
noise. 

" Gol darn it, what's that ? " cried a Confederate 
trooper and the squad paused to listen. 

" Darn me if it ain't a rattlesnake out in winter," said 
another, and he rode into the bushes on the bank of 
the stream. 

" Fire ! " cried our lieutenant. 

And a shot came from every rock about the surprised 
soldiers. 

The man who had turned into the bushes, yelled, 
*' Here's one of them ! " and drawing his saber, jumped 
his horse into the river to attack Caucus. At that 
moment my revolver and the lieutenant's Henry rifle 
spoke, and the man and horse floundered in the stream. 
Wounded as he was, the trooper seized the negro, but 
Caucus fought like a demon, using the butt of his revolver 
as a club — apparently having forgotten to fire it. 

But if the negro neglected the proper use of his weapon, 
the others of our party did not ; and taken by surprise, 
attacked apparently by a greater force, five soldiers 
spurred for their lives down the road, while the body of 
their comrade floated drowning in the stream beside 
them. 

"Quick, men ! " yelled the lieutenant. " Out of here 
like lightning ! There'll be a hundred men scouring this 
road in ten minutes ! " 

We needed no warning, but hurrying along after him 
a few hundred yards, came to a place where the hills 
were not so steep, and leaving the road, scrambled up 
the precipice for some time ; then, crossing the ridge, 
took refuge in a dense •thicket of a second growth of 
pine and fir trees that formed an excellent cover. Here, 
placing a guard to prevent surprise, we lighted a fire, 
beside which Caucus and I dried our clothes, while the 



136 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Others cooked our meal, and determined upon our future 
movements. 

The lieutenant now said that he should try the gap 
that night, going well up on the mountain side, to avoid 
the troops that occupied it. 

" To-night ! " most of us groaned, for we were fear- 
fully tired. 

" Certainly ! to-night ! To-morrow the news of this 
fight '11 be there, and we'll have no chance of getting 
through — it is a close call even now ! " 

We cooked a day's rations, as we would not be able to 
halt again till noon the next day, so our officer told us. 

Then we struggled on after this indomitable fellow, 
Caucus grunting as he trudged by my side : " Dis am a 
reckliss country, 'pears to me, Massa Bryant, round heah. 
Dey'd jist as soon kill a nigger as a white man." 

After a while the lieutenr.nt ordered us to all stop 
talking. We were entering the gap through which the 
Nolachucky passes into Tennessee. Soon below us in 
the valley, as we tramped along the hillside, we could see 
camp-fire after camp-fire of the Confederate scouts guard- 
ing this notch in the mountain. We were not much 
alarmed at this, however, as cavalry could hardly follow us 
over the rocks in the darkness of the night, and our officer 
seemed to know every bypath of this part of the country. 

Getting through this pass, near morning, the lieutenant 
informed us we were now in Tennessee. 

*' Praise de Lord ! de Promised Land ! " cried Caucus. 

" Well, Cauk, you'll find it the cussedest, hardest 
Promised Land you ever struck. Look out, or they'll 
have you over Jordan ! " muttered our leader as he 
passed the word to march on. 

We were leaving the Smoky range behind us. In a week 
or two our fate must be decided ; but as we descended 
the mountain into the valley of the Nolachucky, I could 
see light upon light, indicating more camps of soldiers, 
evidences that every step we advanced added to our 
danger of death, or capture. As day broke, we halted 
and went into camp in another secluded spot. Here we 
remained in hiding until darkness came on again to con- 
ceal us from Confederate patrols. 

During the next two days we turned north to avoid 
the highway running toward Jonesborough, the country 



HOW I ESCAPED. 1 37 

being mostly level, though we sometimes encountered a 
spur of the Bald Mountains. We were compelled to this 
roundabout course, as every high-road, cross-road and 
ferry was guarded by regular soldiers. Reaching Indian 
River, we were fearfully hungry, having had nothing to 
eat for over twenty-four hours. Seeing a house near 
by, I gave Caucus a dollar greenback and sent him to 
negotiate for provisions, as I thought a negro would cre- 
ate less suspicion than a white man. 

The black being " fighting hungry," would have faced 
anything for a meal, and started off eagerly. 

We watched the house and saw Caucus enter, the door 
being opened for him by a woman. After a few minutes 
he came out, traveling rapidly, but loaded with all kinds 
of eatables. 

Five minutes after the woman came running out, appar- 
ently in the wildest excitement and rage, but Caucus had 
passed from her view. 

When he came into camp the amount of provisions he 
had astounded me — a sack of flour, a side of bacon, two 
pans of biscuits, three dozen hard boiled eggs, a ham, and 
a lot of potatoes in a sack. 

" All these for a dollar ? " I gasped. 

" Yes, sah ! " 

" What did the woman say ? " 

" She didn't say nothin', sah. She was in de cellar. 
I inviegled her into de cellar, and den negotiated de 
grub." 

" Cauk, you'll be a forager in time ! " laughed the 
lieutenant. 

" I's laming, sah ! " returned Caucus. 

And so he did — a few months after this. 

It was too risky to take back to the woman any portion 
of her provisions, and we were, perhaps, not over-scrupu- 
lous, for provisions meant strength, and strength meant 
safety ; so we pushed along Horse Creek on the road 
toward Greenville. 

Soon after this we came to a house, the owner of which 
was acquainted with our lieutenant. Here we expected 
to remain the night. If was just getting dusk as we 
halted some two hundred yards from the building, and 
the lieutenant went forward to see if it would be safe for 
us to show ourselves. 



138 HOW I ESCAPED. 

He soon gave us the signal to come on. At the door- 
way we were stopped by an old gentleman, who whis- 
pered that a Confederate soldier was inside upon a sick 
bed, attended by his mother, who had arrived a few days 
before from near Knoxville. 

We were shown into a large room adjoining the one in 
which the invalid lay. His mother came out and begged 
us piteously not to disturb her almost dying boy, who was 
down with typhoid fever. She said he wanted to see 
some one of us. He guessed on what side we were, and 
felt afraid for his safety. 

The lieutenant nodded to me to go in, and I found the 
young man very nervous, partly from sickness and partly 
from anxiety. In a weak tone he asked me what we were 
going to do, and whether we would molest him. Noting 
his excitement, and seeing how it told upon him, I re- 
quested him to give himself no uneasiness, for though 
we were Union men, making for the front, we would 
attack no one who did not disturb us. This seemed to 
relieve him very much, and his mother followed me to 
the door, and blessed and thanked me for having mercy 
upon her boy. 

Never was I so impressed until this moment with the 
fearful passions of this time, that made a man, whom 
every instinct of humanity would make us pity and assist, 
fear we would kill him as he lay sick upon his bed. 

The old gentleman invited us to remain for supper, but 
told us if we stayed all night we had better sleep with our 
boots on, as we would probably be gobbled up before 
morning. 

We took his advice, and his supper, and our host was 
kind enough to pilot us to a spot between two hills where 
we could make a fire without being observed from the 
road. 

Placing sentries, as usual, we passed the night un- 
molested. Early in the morning our friend came to us 
and said he would get us some breakfast if we would 
come down to the house. 

Accepting his offer, while at table a little darkey came 
in saying there were soldiers at the gate, and looking out, 
I saw two men on horseback armed with rifles. Our 
lieutenant, noting their number, called to them to come 
in and join us. 



HOW 1 ESCAPED. I39 

They looked at us in surprise, but acquiesced, and after 
discovering who we were, one of them jocosely remarked 
that we had better watch out or they would take us 
prisoners. 

" You will have a fine time of it, as we are heeled, and 
some one will be hurt ! " returned Hanson. 

One of them replied : " Just wait at this house for an 
hour, and we will change your mind." 

The other told us not to mind him, as he was good at 
bluffing. 

By this time we had come to the conclusion that these 
men were in advance of others ; consequently, while the 
two soldiers were still at breakfast, we started out at a 
quick pace ovi our journey, and went southward toward 
Cedar Creek, not following any road, but going through 
woods and fields, which would render pursuit by horsemen 
very difficult, the lieutenant telling us he knew a family 
living near Salem, about twelve miles distant, and if we 
could get there safely, we could learn enough about the 
position of the troops to aid us in determining our future 
movements. 

To reach this place, however, wc would have to travel 
through a thickly settled farming country southwest of 
Greenville. 'J'his could best be done at night, as we 
could detect the presence of soldiers by their camp fires. 
We camped in some timber till evening and then began 
our march. About eight o'clock in the evening we came 
to a house that stood near the fork of two roads. A 
woman appeared and asked who was there. We said we 
wanted to know if the way was clear to Salem. She 
replied that she was not quite sure. The day before she 
had seen soldiers coming from that direction. 

Learning nothing definite, we passed on into the public 
road leading to the town, only disturbed by the barking 
of dogs, that had a habit of favoring us very often with 
their salutations at night. 

At midnight we reached our destination. A woman 
opened the door for us. There was not a man on the 
place — every one of them being away in the army around 
Knoxville, except the woman's husband, who was hiding 
in the mountains. 

She gave us a doleful account of things, and said she 
did not know how we were to get through, unless we 



I40 HOW I ESCAPED. 

went north through the woods and approached Knox- 
ville by a roundabout route. 

This was out of the question ; it meant another two 
weeks of refugeeing, and we were now almost too worn 
out to travel. Finally the woman advised us to go 
northwesterly, direct toward Newmarket, and cross the 
Nolachucky River above its junction with the French 
Broad. This was about ten miles, but we could reach it 
by daylight, as the country was perfectly level and there 
were no big streams to ford. 

Acting on her advice, we set out. We had hardly been 
gone an hour before a rain-storm came up that made the 
road very slippery. We were rejoiced at this. It would 
tend to keep the Confederates under canvas. Lights 
appeared ahead of us, which we took for camp-fires, but 
fortunately we did not have to go near them. 

We reached our point in safety, and stopped about 
half a mile beyond the junction of the two rivers in a 
farm-house, where we found no one but a white man and 
two negroes. We asked the man to ferry us across the 
stream. He looked us over, then complied with our re- 
quest, but in a very surly way. The size of our party was 
too large for opposition, and he took us over in two loads. 

As he landed us he remarked that we would have a 
nice time getting through the lines, and that he would 
not like to be in our boots. 

Thanking him for his trouble, we marched in the direc- 
tion of Newmarket, intending to leave it on our right 
and to pass southwest toward Strawberry Plains. From 
here on we were satisfied that we would meet in the roads 
none but soldiers, and were continually on the alert. 
It was now about eight o'clock in the morning, when 
we came to a little creek and concluded to camp. We 
had traveled all that night, and most of the day before, 
and nature compelled us to rest. We halted at a little 
log cabin back of a piece of woodr three hundred yards 
from the road. It was quite secluded, and not apt to be 
seen by people riding by. No one came near during the 
day. We slept on the floor by turns— one of us always 
being on guard. 

During this time I patched up my shoes as well as 
I could with strings, and tied them to my feet, from 
which they had nearly fallen. 



HOW I ESCAPED. I4I 

Often during the day we heard the noise of march- 
ing soldiers, but were fortunately too far from the road 
to be discovered. A battery of artillery also galloped 
past. 

All this indicated some movement on Longstreet's 
part, but what wa could not tell. 

The lieutenant, however, said : " I think he has got to 
retreat. Judging by the number of men that are now 
coming in, he has called in most of his detached parties, 
but by to-morrow at this time we will probably know all 
about it." 

" Why so ? " I asked. 

" Because then we'll either be in the Federal lines, 
prisoners, or gone to glory ! " 

" So soon ? " 

" Certainly ! We can't keep dodging through the rebel 
army forever. If we stay here, we're bound to be 
caught in a day or two. Now, I've picked out our cross- 
ing-place on the Nolachucky — it's twelve miles from 
here. By a forced march, we'll get there before day 
breaks. If we get across alive, half an hour '11 place us 
in the Union lines. As soon as dark, we start to make 
the attempt." 

If we were successful in getting through, our leader 
would go to his regiment and we would separate. Feel- 
ing that this gallant man's services deserved some recog- 
nition from us, I tore a leaf from my memorandum book 
and wrote : 

" Whereas, we the undersigned, members of a party of Union men 
struggling to get away from the Southern Confederacy, have been 
guided with consummate tact, judgment, self-denial and bravery, by 
Lieutenant Hanson of the Fifth Kentucky Union Cavalry, we extend 
to hira our sincere and heartfelt thanks, and, while we are unable to 
reward him substantially, we give to him our best wishes and best 
hopes that he may pass through this war safely, and when these 
troubles are over, may enjoy the rest of his life in health and happi- 
ness." 

This being signed by us, I read it to the lieutenant, 
who said he would place that bit of paper in his bosom, 
preserve it from all harm, and always treasure it during 
the remainder of his life. 

We now began our walk that would bring us to the 
crossing of the Nolachucky River, at a place ten or 



142 HOW I ESCAPED. 

twelve miles from Knoxville. Along the road in the 
darkness we could observe evidences everywhere of the 
presence of soldiers. In some places fires illuminated 
the sky, while in others there were tent poles from which 
the canvas had been struck, and at one place we almost 
ran into a little camp of men on the side of the road. 
Avoiding this by a circuitous route through the fields, 
and coming out into the highway again, we had not gone 
far before we heard the galloping of horses. Leaving 
the road once more, because it was evident we were 
nearing the lights of almost a brigade of Confederates, 
and could not guess at what point we would run against 
its picket line, we kept on until two in the morning, 
when we reached our objective point near the river. A 
little house stood aw^ay from the road some fifty or sixty 
yards, and the Nolachucky was at least two hundred 
paces beyond it. 

Across this river we could see lights, which were 
undoubtedly the camp-fires of some portion of Long- 
street's army. The house was inhabited by a middle- 
aged woman and her daughters. There were no men 
near. 

As we made known our purpose to get into the Federal 
lines, the lady said that the rebel picket line was across 
the river, where we could easily see the camp-fires. We^ 
then asked if we could cross the stream near there. 

She said, " Not with any safety, as there were three men 
shot down there last night while trying to cross. They 
attempted to go just after dark. I warned them, but they 
said they would take their chances, and when I heard the 
musketry across the river, I knew they were gone." 

We then asked if there was any other place to cross 
near there. 

" Yes," she replied. " There's a bridge a little further up- 
stream, but that is guarded by a company of infantry, and 
I believe they have one or two guns there. There is 
going to be some movement, I can't tell what it is, 
because the troops have been traveling about here all day, 
and there has been a good deal of musketry firing in the 
front. I suppose there will probably be lively times to- 
morrow." 

This made us most anxious to get into the Union lines. 
If Longstreet advanced, every foot he gained added 



HOW I ESCAPED. I43 

another foot to the distance we had to travel, and took 
a way another chance of safety from us. We were now 
at the border Hne. Imprisonment and death were behind 
us. Death was, perhaps, before us. 

We sat in tiie dark, early morning hours discussing the 
momentous question, whether we should attempt to cross 
or not. The woman knew the difficulty of the situation, 
and begged us for God's sake not to undertake the trip. 

1 told her we had been over a month on our journey, 
and we could not remain where we were in sight of the 
pickets; that boldness was our only chance. I then said: 
" Boys, I have come on this trip to go through the lines. 
We have come to the lines, and if I can get any one to go 
with me, I will get there ! " 

I urged that the present moment, just before daybreak, 
was the best time to catch the pickets off their guard. 

One man agreed to join me. The lieutenant hesitated, 
and said: " I do not think we can get across. I know 
you could not pass that picket line, with me in command 
of it, in the way you intend." 

I replied: " Don't allow my rashness to influence you." 

At that he jumped up and muttered: " I do not pro- 
pose to allow any man to say I dare not follow him." 

"Oh ! " cried the woman, "for God's sake, don't go ! 
If you do, you will never come out alive ! " 

We thanked her for her interest, but there was nothing 
else for us, — we must go forward. 

Only two of the men, with the lieutenant, would risk 
the crossing. 

The others said it was too hazardous, they would wait 
developments. 

As for Caucus, he didn't seem to think he had any 
voice in the matter, and as soon as I got up he followed 
me down to the woman's boat, which was an old and 
leaky affair, hardly useful for any military purpose, and 
as such neglected by the enemy. It was now between 
three and four o'clock in the morning. The whole party 
went to the bank with us. Unlocking the old batteau, we 
got in. Another man then decided to take the risk, and 
joined our party, leaving three who declined to go. We 
shook hands silently. It was now dangerous to speak, 
for the river was but a little over a hundred yards wide. 

In order to make no noise, we used no oars, paddling 



144 HOW I ESCAPED. 

with our hands. To do this effectively I took off my 
coat, wearing a dark gray shirt underneath, that gave no 
light color to make me prominent in the darkness. This 
coat, which contained all my papers, I handed silently to 
Caucus, and he placed it on the thwart between us. Then 
we floated out into the stream. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE LETTER OF LIFE. 

The silence of the night was broken only by the rip- 
pling of the river against our boat, and the wash of its 
waters upon the bank we were rapidly nearing. The 
darkness of the night was only illuminated by two watch- 
fires that we dreaded. Steering to strike the bank 
midway between these fires, paddling with our hands for 
fear of disturbing the silence, we seemed to be totally 
unobserved. No noise was heard in the brush that lined 
the bank of the stream. No word came out of the silence 
of the forest, that was only separated from us now by a 
few yards of water. 

I was now confident we would gain the bank, and 
probably half an hour would see us in the Union lines. 

Suddenly from out the brushwood right in front of us 
came " Who goes there ? " from the hoarse voice of a 
Confederate picket. 

The lieutenant who sat next to me whispered in my 
ear, " Overboard, for your life ! " 

As he dropped over the gunwale, taking the side away 
from the bank, to obtain the protection of the boat from 
rifle-balls, I followed him, and diving under the bottom 
of the batteau, we floated silently down stream, just mak- 
ing exertion enough to keep ourselves afloat. 

As I rose I hea'-d the crashing fire of musketry and 
shrieks and groans from the companions I had left in the 
boat, and over all Caucus' voice, shrieking, " Fo' de 
Lord ! What to do now ? " 

The lieutenant turned his head, and paddling close to 
me whispered: " Float down the stream before you try to 
make the bank. This musketry firing will rouse every 



HOW I ESCAPED. I45 

picket within a mile ; " t^en struck out strongly down the 
river with the current. 

I followed him, but he gradually passed out of my 
sight into the darkness. 

After floating down three or four hundred yards, 
numbed by the coldness of the water, which had but a 
short time ago left the snows of the North Carolina 
mountains, I turned and paddled to the bank, drew my- 
self up on the ground, and thought I had escaped, and 
could now make my way to the Federal lines. 

Numbed with the cold, I staggered into the bushes, 
unfortunately striking a few twigs. 

The next instant a couple of bayonets were thrust 
against my breast, and I heard, '' Surrender or die ! " 

" I am your prisoner," I muttered, for, chilled with the 
cold, neither resistance nor flight was possible. 

" You are one of that boat's crew we fired into up the 
river about five minutes ago ? " said one of my captors. 

" Yes," I replied, for there was no good trying to deceive 
them. '' Who are you ? " 

" Oh, we're some South Carolina boys, up here to 
see that you Yanks in East Tennessee behave your- 
selves." 

*' Take him to regimental headquarters," said the ser- 
geant of the guard, who had come up, attracted by our 
noise. 

I was searched, and then marched between a couple of 
soldiers to a log house, about a quarter of a mile up the 
river, which was the headquarters of the regiment — one 
of Kershaw's brigade of South Carolina troops, a portion 
of Longstreet's corps, which, after fighting in Virginia, 
had come down with their commander into East Ten- 
nessee. 

Their colonel was not here, being away looking after 
the picket lines. The adjutant, who was at headquarters, 
told me I would have to wait until that officer's return 
before they would know what to do with me. 

I asked his permission to stand in front of the fire to 
warm myself, for my teeth were chattering so that I could 
hardly speak. # 

" Yes," he said. " I suppose if we want to get any 
information out of you, we have got to warm you up a 
little ; but I reckon you will be warm enough — or cold 



146 HOW I ESCAPED. 

enough — before we have done with you. Judging from 
your clothes, and the position in which you were taken, 
you are a spy ! " 

I said, '' When the colonel comes I will explain to him." 

" Very well." 

So, the sentry keeping a close eye on me, though I 
was almost too chilled to move, I warmed myself and 
dried my clothes in front of the fire. It must have 
been now four o'clock in the morning. A moment 
after, the sentinel saluted an officer on horseback, who 
galloped up, followed by an orderly. He dismounted and 
passed in, giving me a hurried glance, and after a few 
moments' conversation with the adjutant, said, "Any 



im 



papers found on h 

" No, sir." 

" Very well. Let the prisoner be brought in." 

I was accordingly marched into the log cabin, which 
was made comfortable on the inside by a fire and a rough 
straw mattress in a corner, with some blankets on it. A 
coarse deal table, some writing materials, and two rough 
chairs were the rest of its furniture. 

As I entered, the officer gave a start, looked at me 
sharply, then turning to the adjutant, hurriedly gave him 
some orders, which sent that officer upon some duty away 
from regimental headquarters. Next he directed the 
guard to leave me with him, but to keep a strict watch 
outside to see that no one came in while he talked 
to me. 

The door had hardly closed when he turned to me and 
said, with rather a hoarse laugh, " By the Lord ! this is 
an unexpected pleasure, Mr. Bryant. When did you 
come from the earthworks on Morris Island ? " 

With a start I looked at him, and as the voice came to 
me, I recognized my old friend and whilom chum Harry 
Walton of Columbia. The full beard he wore and the 
bronzed complexion that active service had given him 
had so changed him that for a moment I had not recog- 
nized him. 

" Major Walton," said I 

*' Colonel," interrupted he. " I^ath has promoted me 
since I saw you last. Promotion in that way is pretty 
rapid around here." 

" Colonel Walton," continued I, " I know from what 



HOW 1 ESCAPED. 147 

you have said that you are aware that I was imprisoned 
on Morris Island." 

" Yes, for desertion, I beUeve," he said. " Where is your 
passport ? " 

" I have none ! " 

" No passport, and coming through our lines in citi- 
zen's clothes ! How did you leave the earthworks on 
Morris Island ? " 

*' I was removed from them." 

" Where to ? " 

" To work on the fortifications on Stoho River." 

" When were you discharged ? " 

" I have never been discharged." 

" The second time a deserter ! Looks very bad for 
you, Mr. Bryant. In fact, fatally bad," he remarked, 
lighting a pipe and sitting down. " I presume I could 
shoot you after a drumhead court-martial here, without 
violating military etiquette. Probably I shall have to, if 
we are driven away from here to-morrow morning, as I 
expect to be." 

I replied : " My life is in your hands. Colonel Walton, 
but I hardly think it noble to take — when he cannot de- 
fend himself — a revenge upon your old friend and col- 
lege chum, because he was more fortunate than you in 
winning Laura Peyton's " 

" Stop ! " cried the colonel. " Don't you say that 
word. Don't you dare to say she loves you ! I will not 
believe it ! If she had loved you, neither you nor any 
man on earth could ever have left her. However, I shall 
do my duty. I shall take no revenge upon you. I will 
send you, under guard, to Chattanooga. A drumhead 
court-martial can dispose of you as well as I can, and no 
man shall be able to say that Harry Walton treated him 
ungenerously. I will do my duty, sir ! " 

He called the guard, and was about to consign me to 
them, when an orderly, coming up, said : " Colonel, here's 
a nigger who insists on seeing you. He has heard your 
name, and will not be put off. I think he has solne in- 
formation for you." 

As he said this, the»red head of Caucus entered the 
circle illuminated by the camp-fire. The black was drip- 
ping from the river, but carried in his hand, apparently 
unwet, my coat that contained all my papers. 



148 HOW I ESCAPED. 

At sight of this garment, I knew that my last chance 
was gone. Before any court-martial where I was known 
by my true name, the passport for Mr. Bassett would 
convict me. 

" 'Clare to goodness, I's real glad to see you, Colonel 
Walton ! " said the negro, with an attempted wriggle of 
delight. " Who would spect to drop on a South Carolina 
friend in dis part ob de country ? Does my eyes good, 
Colonel Walton, to see you, sah. All de time comin' up 
heah, I said, ' When will we come to Colonel Walton ? ' " 

"Caucus," cried the colonel, with a laugh. "You are 
happier to meet me than your master. Take him away, 
and give him something to eat. Niggers are always 
hungry. But see that he doesn't escape into the Union 
lines, for his evidence may come up before us." 

" Now you is talkin', colonel," muttered Caucus. 
"You kill three or four of us, and was a leetle rough on 
us at fus'; but you take good care of what is left ob us." 

" Take him away," repeated Walton, with a wave of 
his hand, as if anxious to get the darkey out of his 
sight. 

" Yes, sah ; I'm a goin', sah. I'm always ready to eat, 
sah ; but, Massa Bryant, I don't want you to tink I didn't 
take good care ob your clothes. Heah's your documents 
in 'em, dry as a bone. Your pass is all safe, sah," and 
to my horror, he placed the papers carefully on the 
table. 

At the word " documents " the colonel paused a min- 
ute, and said, as Caucus was being led away : " I will 
examine these. Let the prisoner wait here until I give 
further orders. You can close the door, orderly." 

Then, without any ceremony, he ran through most of 
the papers hurriedly, with an occasional exclamation of 
satisfaction, and looking at me, said : " I think your case 
will give a court-martial very little trouble. I do not 
care particularly to conceal my feeling regarding you. 
If you were shot to death twenty times, it would not 
cause you the misery that you have caused me." 

" Colonel Walton," replied I, " the misery I caused 
you was not intended. We both loved the same woman. 
If I won her, that was my luck." 

" Won her ? " he cried ; " why, she is too true a south- 
ern girl to ever think of you now. JVon her 7 You have 



HOW I ESCAPED. I49 

won nothing but what a court-martial will give you ! " 
Then he went on looking over the papers. 

After a few moments, a short, suppressed cry, as of a 
man in mortal agony, came from him. Gazing at him, I 
saw that the paper he looked at was the one letter I 
had received from my wife. 

With a pale face, apparently controlling himself by an 
almost superhuman exertion, he strode up to me, and 
whispered in a low voice : " Is this letter true ? Is — 
Laura — Peyton — your — wife ? " 

" Yes," I replied, " my beloved wife ! " 

'' Good God ! " 

A moment after he forced himself to calmness again, 
and, looking at the letter, muttered : " Yes, it is in her 
handwriting ! " and read it through once more. 

Then, apparently forgetful of my presence, he clasped 
his hands to his face, sank down into a chair, and I could 
tell by his short, quick breathing that he was fighting the 
fight that all men have to make who love truly and lose 
—a struggle against the despair of knowing that the 
woman of your heart has gone from you forever. 

" Colonel Walton," said I, " do you want me any 
longer ? " 

'' No ! Tell the guard " 

I had moved to the door. 

" Yes ! Remain ! " 

I paused. He was staring at me with bloodshot 
eyes. Then he burst forth ; " My God ! she d/d love 
you ! " 

" Yes I she loves me still ! " I cried, proudly. 

" I know it ! Don't tell me about it ! From her letter 
I can see she loves you. My God ! What am I to do ? I 
cannot do my duty. If I do, I make her " 

And for over half an hour he paced the floor of the 
cabin, sometimes wringing his hands, sometimes pressing 
them to his head. After a time he became calmer, and 
sinking into a chair, perhaps exhausted by the violence 
of his passion, said to me : " Mr. Bryant, I will not dis- 
guise from you, when I saw you here, when I knew that 
you would be convicted, and probably sentenced to death 
as a deserter or a spy, that it made me happy. This 
letter from the woman we do//i love tells me she is your 
wife, and loves you as such. I had intended to send you 



150 HOW I ESCAPED. 

to Bragg's headquarters to be tried for desertion. What 
mercy you would get you can guess, for Bragg is a man* 
who has no mercy on his own men— what mercy would 
he have upon you, a northern one ? Your chances for life 
would not be worth the snap of my finger. If I did my 
duty, I should do this, and make the little girl I have 
known and loved, who was my playmate when a child, whom 
I love now, God help me, as a woman ! — a widow. I would 
break Laura Peyton's — I mean Laura Bryant's — heart ! 
My duty says one thing, my love for your wife another. 
If I thought she did not love you, I could do my duty; 
but this letter shows me that every beat of her heart is 
yours. I cannot do my exact duty. I will compromise 
with my conscience. Now in order to compromise with 
my conscience, Mr. Bryant, you must do what I suggest. 
It is your only chance of life. My regiment and I are 
put here as a kind of sop to the Yankee maw, that will 
swallow us, probably, to morrow. This regiment is to be 
sacrificed to save the division. It has been done often 
enough on both sides before, during the war, and it is 
going to be done now. I and my men know this as well 
as the division general who orders it. We are to hold 
the little bridge and this bank of the river *'to the last 
man " — that is my order — or until 1 receive a signal 
from the hill back of us that two batteries are in posi- 
tion there that will check the Federal advance. By 
that time the division will have passed along the road, 
and the river cannot be crossed in time to do it any 
damage. Now I am to defend this bridge to the last. 
I will leave you here. There will be a great many 
balls and shells falling about you, but I hope you will 
get accustomed to them, as I am. I shall hold the 
bridge to the last man. Do you remain here, and if 
my men forget you in the hurry of the battle, don't 
;-^/;//;/^/ them ; don't make y ourseM proiJiincnt. Pick out a 
safe place. I want to save the husband of Laura Peyton, 
the man Laura Peyton loves. As for me, I am glad I 
have got this kind of work to do this morning. I hope 
my bullet may find me. It will, some time ; and I can 
give my life for the South with a better heart than I 
could have, before I met you to-night." 



HOW I ESCAPED. I5I 

CHAPTER XVIII 

THE FIGHT FOR THE BRIDGE. 

The colonel staggered out. 

As he did so, the faint light of breaking day came in 
through the open door of the cabin. Looking from a 
square hole in the log wall that served for a window, I 
was soon able to perceive the immediate surroundings of 
the place. 

Just back of it flowed the river, crossed at this point 
a very little to the right of the cabin by a country bridge 
hardly wide enough to permit the crossing of an ordinary 
wagon. 'J he structure of this was of the usual western 
kind, the girders and trusses being made of squared logs 
bolted together, and its planking consisting of two-inch 
rough lumber. The width of the stream, which was here 
deep and rapid, was but a little over fifty yards; conse- 
quently a single pier in the center of the river, made of a 
crib of heavy logs filled in with broken stone, was suffi- 
cient to support this bridge, which was in the form of two 
spans resting upon abutments on either bank and the 
single pier in the center of the current. Upon the oppo- 
site side of the river two field-pieces were stationed, and 
a rough breastwork of logs had been constructed to pro- 
tect an infantry support. Iliis at present was simply 
guarded by a sergeant and a few men, though the gun- 
ners were sleeping ready for action alongside the section 
of their battery. 

Along the opposite bank of the river ran a country 
road, sometimes beside the water and at other times run- 
ning off from it from a few yards' distance to fifty and per- 
haps seventy-five. This was only protected here and 
there by clumps of timber, and the march of a column 
over it with the banks on my side of the stream occupied 
in force by the enemy would be certainly disastrous and 
almost a military impossibility. After passing the bridge, 
however, a hundred yards or so, this road turned from 
the river into the country, which was hilly, and perhaps 
half a mile away there was a position from which a few 
batteries of artillery properly supported by infantry could 
check an advancing army. 



152 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Along this road from down the river were coming hur- 
riedly, but apparently in good order and without con- 
fusion, the baggage-wagons of a division ; ihe heavy 
muffled rattle of musketry could be heard down the stream 
some miles away, an occasional salvo of artillery mingling 
with and punctuating the roar. 

It was evident that the Confederates were withdrawing 
from their position — one of the most difficult and danger- 
ous operations in war when conducted in the face of an 
active and enterprising enemy. Like most military move- 
ments, its success depended almost entirely upon time. If 
attacked while moving along this road by the river, in case 
the enemy gained the opposite bank from which to 
enfilade its column with musketry and artillery, the result 
would be a fearful disaster. If the Confederates could 
gain unassaulted the position m the hills away from the 
river, they might bid defiance to pursuit. 

In order to avoid any chances of losing the opposite 
bank of the river, Walton and his South Carolina regi- 
ment had been stationed there to hold it, even in the face 
of an opposing division of Federals. 

But to move a large body of men takes considerable 
time, even when unassailed. The baggage-wagons had 
just begun to pass me ; it would be near mid-day before 
the infantry and artillery of the division could be all with- 
drawn, and, by the noise down the river, the enemy were 
attacking now ; Walton and his regiment must be sacri- 
ficed to military necessity. Even as I thought this, a 
dusty aide-de-camp came dashing over the bridge. 

As I looked at this structure, any wonder in my mind 
that Walton was not reinforced vanished from it. The 
bridge was so small and narrow that a larger body of men 
than a regiment would have found it impossible to retreat 
across it, closely pressed by an enemy. 

Walton was standing outside the cabin ; the aide-de- 
camp rode up, and after a few hurried whispers, the 
colonel burst forth : " Then he refuses reinforcements, 
but I am to hold this position I " 

" Yes ! till you get that signal ! " 

"How long will that take?" 

" Three or four hours ! " 

" Good Lord ! There won't be many left of us ! " mut- 
tered the colonel, gazing sadly at his men already falling 



HOW I ESCAPED. 153 

in. Veterans of three campaigns in Virginia, and Antie- 
tam, Gettysburg and Chickamauga besides, his men 
guessed their fate also ; for I heard one of them remark 
to a comrade under his voice, as they passed the cabin, 
" Thar'll be a pretty general turning up of toes to-day, 
I reckon, Tim ! " 

And the other, a boy of about nineteen, said : *' Trouble 
you for a plug of tobacco, I'll take a last smoke for old 
Virginie ! " 

Others, however, stood with compressed lips that grew 
pale as they thought of far-off homes they scarcely hoped 
to see again. 

But in all this there was no murmur from any of them, 
and when the colonel ordered them to the front, they 
only answered with a yell and double-quicked to their 
line of battle. 

All this time the roar of musketry down the river grew 
louder and louder, and dropping shots began to fall 
about the picket line of the regiment ; a few wounded men 
came crawling and limping from the front, for all this 
day I never saw any one assisted off the field by com- 
rades—their numbers were so few, their need of men so 
desperate. 

" They attacked you down the river an hour ago in 
force ? " questioned the colonel of the aide-de-camp. 

" Yes, sir ! " 

" Then there'll be a brigade in front of me in an hour, 
and a division before this is over. Report that I'll hold 
this bridge to the last man ! " 

" Yes, colonel," and the aide-de-camp galloped off. 

Calling to his adjutant, Walton hurriedly wrote an 
order, and said : " Let duplicates in writing be given to 
every line and staff officer of the regiment ; also to the 
first sergeant of every company." 

" To so many ? " asked the adjutant, coolly scribbling 
on a wooden bench, though the rifle balls were finding 
their way through the trees and wounding men about us. 

"Yes," replied the colonel. *' By the time the signal 
for retreat is given, a first sergeant may be the ranking 
officer of the regiment, and I don't want to take any 
chances of sacrificing one more man than necessary." 

Then he gave a sigh and went to the front, leaving his 
horse in charge of an orderly. 



154 HOW I ESCAPED. 

The position for the regiment to defend was rather 
favorable. 

A small ridge, running nearly parallel to the river, and 
going down close to its bank half a mile below us, was 
about three hundred yards from me. This was heavily 
timbered, the trees running a little over the lidge from 
the river ; while beyond them were open fields, over 
which the Federals must advance. Along the edges of 
this timber, at intervals, breastworks of logs had been 
hastily erected, each of these large enough to give shelter 
to a company front in skirmish line. Between these 
sharpshooters were placed in rifle pits, keeping com- 
munication open. 

This line of defense was a very long one for such a 
small number of men to hold ; for I noted that the Caro- 
linians were hardly three hundred, for at that time death 
had made many a regiment in the Confederate army look 
like a company. 

But the roar of musketry down the river was approach- 
ing. I gazed behind me. On the right, across the 
stream, the last of the baggage-wagons was passing, and 
a regiment of infantry, already withdrawn from the line 
of battle down the river, was marching to take position 
in the hills up the road. Behind them I could see other 
regiments of infantry, and a battery of artillery. 

The roar of battle came nearer, and now, from drop- 
ping shots in the front of the regiment the firing in- 
creased to volleys. This was steadily returned by the 
South Carolinians. A quarter of an hour of this, and 
from the noise in front of me a Federal battery had evi- 
dently got into position, for rifle shells fell into the tim- 
ber about me, some of them striking the opposite side of 
the river, and one of them exploding in the marching 
Confederate regiment on the road, killing and wounding 
some of them. Five minutes after, another Union battery 
came into position. It was easy to distinguish this from 
the first, because its rifled guns fired peculiar shells, that 
produced unearthly noises and shrieks that seemed to 
come from almost a human voice. 

As one of these yelling things went over the cabin I 
was looking from, the front door was hurriedly thrown 
open, and Caucus came running in, his red hair almost 
standing. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 155 

I cried, " Caucus, I am glad you have escaped so far." 

" Yes, but I won't last long. I'se most gwine now — 
heah em ! heah em I Oh Lord, deliber us ! " and as 
another shell shrieked over us, he groveled in a corner. 

" You're not frightened ? " I asked, astonished, for the 
black had so often shown his courage. 

"Yas, I's dead scared now ! I could stan' de bullets, 
and de bustin' things, but when I sees dat talkin' shell a 
twistin' an' windin' about in de trees, an' sayin', ' Whar's 
you? whars you ? wha-a-ar's you ? ' I can't stan' it no 
longer. One uv 'em chased me nigh onto five minutes 
afore 1 dodged in heah, an' den 'eluded he would take 
some ob de fellers on de other side ob de ribber. I was 
too good a dodger. Great Scotty ! Bar's anodder ! " 

This last with an additional shudder as another shriek- 
ing thing knocked part of the roof off over our heads. 

The Federals had evidently caught sight of our log- 
cabin, and judging it to be the headquarters of the regi- 
ment, were getting the range of it rapidly. Telling 
Caucus of this danger, I beckoned him to come with me, 
for the noise had now become deafening, and we could 
hardly hear each other speak. Unheeded by the Con- 
federates, who were too much occupied in the front, 
we took refuge behind the abutment of the bridge 
on our side the river, and underneath its planking. 
Over our heads we now could hear the groans and curses 
of the wounded, who limped and staggered, coming in 
from the front and crossing the bridge. The number of 
these indicated enormous losses, and was constantly in- 
creasing, while the fire from the front showed that not 
only a brigade but almost a division was engaging this 
one Confederate regiment. This fusillade now came 
also very heavily from either flank, both up and down 
the river, enfilading the breastworks and rendering them 
of little protection to the few men who were now so des- 
perately holding them ; falling wounded and dying by 
scores without any of the cheers, hurrahs and dashing 
excitement of a charge — only just staying there and 
hopelessly dying as a plain, commonplace, everyday duty 
— the hardest way to die. 

This idea seemed to impress the black, for he muttered, 
looking at the thinning line of battle : " Golly, dose rebs 
dies jist as if dey was use to it ! " 



156 HOW I ESCAPED. 

The fight had lasted now nearly two hours. A couple 
of batteries and the bulk of the Confederate division were 
going past on the road across the river. The captains 
of both these batteries held them, and I could see 
them violently expostulate with their chief of artillery. 
Apparently their expostulations were listened to. One 
of the batteries immediately took position upon our right 
fiank across the river, in a field some two hundred yards 
up the stream, opening a direct fire with its rifle-guns, 
sweeping away little by little the line of blue that was 
trying to edge behind and cut off the retreat of the 
Carolinians. This reduced considerably the fire of the 
Federal troops from that point. The other battery took 
position immediately behind the road on a little eminence. 
Spreading its six brass Napoleon smooth-bores (just the 
arms for the purpose) in the form of a fan, and using 
them at very high elevations as mortars, with reduced 
powder charges, it succeeded in dropping its shells over 
the Confederate line of battle immediately in the Federal 
advancing column now forming for a charge. The 
accurate service of these guns was very important ; to give 
the proper range, an exact charge of powder was neces- 
sary. 

The captain of artillery, leaving his battery, galloped 
coolly across the bridge, through the hail of musket balls, 
to the front of the Carolinians. I could see him talking 
with Walton for a few minutes, watching where his shells 
fell, and signaling to the orderly whom he had stationed 
midway on the bridge to repeat his signs to the officer 
in command of his battery. These evidently indicated 
the amount of powder to be used, for this was changed 
several times, until the range of the battery became very 
accurate, for I could see through the trees shell after 
shell exploding in the blue ranks that were moving 
across the open field. 

Having got his range, the captain of artillery gal- 
loped back across the bridge very coolly, though I noticed 
he wiped some blood from a flesh wound in his shoulder 
as he passed me. The roar of guns down the stream also 
indicated that another battery had taken position, and was 
protecting the left, flank of the Confederate regiment; 
otherwise it could hardly have held its ground as long as 
it did, for the line of blue was charging ! The slender 



HOW I ESCAPED. I57 

line of gray infantry waited till the blue columns got 
within a hundred yards of its breastworks ; then it gave 
forth its fire rapidly and continuously — so rapidly for the 
number of men involved, that I knew they must have 
collected and loaded the muskets of their fallen comrades 
in order to obtain the great weight of fire. Under this 
and the bursting shells from the Napoleon guns across 
the river, the Federal line wavered and went back, leav- 
ing the yellow fields it crossed covered with spots and 
splashes of blue. 

Meantime the steady tramp of the infantry of the Con- 
federate division, some of it going at double-quick, came 
from the road behind me. Its last few regiments were 
passing us, and the battery down the river was withdrawn 
to go in position on the hills beyond. The work of the 
South Carolinians was nearly over, but hardly one man 
in three remained in this line of battle. The Federals 
were again massing a brigade to charge it. 

Four times in the last hour had Walton come back to 
ask the lookout on the bridge if they had not seen the 
signal from the hills in the rear. Two of the four non- 
commissioned officers placed at that duty were wounded. 
The third, a corporal, in command, always replied : " No, 
colonel ! " and shook his head. 

The last time Walton came, he limped a little from a 
slight wound in the leg. 

" Please mount your horse, colonel," begged the cor- 
poral. 

" No, I can do better on foot yet. My God ! will 
that signal never come ? I don't want all my men to die, 
and this charge will settle us ! " and Walton, shading 
his eyes with his hand, strained them to see if he could 
catch the signal. 

" It must be there ! " he muttered, then suddenly cried : 

"// has come ! " 

And looking through the smoke of battle to the hills 
beyond, I could discern the flags. 

The colonel, wounded as he was, ran back to the line 
of battle The necessary orders were given very quickly, 
for the companies came in at the double-quick pursued by 
a hailstorm of Federal bullets. But where was the regi- 
ment of the morning ? Each company seemed but a 
skeleton squad, and half of these men were staggering 



158 HOW I ESCAPED. 

or reeling from wounds and loss of blood. Drawing in 
upon their center rapidly, which still held its ground, 
they lined the breastwork immediately in front of us, 
and as the Federal charge came on, gave them one 
crashing volley, while the Confederate battery behind us 
dropped six more shells into the charging lines. 

The blue was checked for a moment, and in that 
moment Walton, with the ease of a veteran, withdrew 
his men across the bridge. 

While he was doing so, Caucus called my attention to 
some occurences that were making his hair stand on end. 

The captain of artillery, aided by a couple of pioneers, 
had rapidly dug a hole in the center pier of the bridge. 
Into this four men, running down, placed four kegs of gun- 
powder. Walton turned from his men, and he and the' 
artillery officer both stayed and to this mine deliberately 
attached a fuse. Then they coolly waited until the rear 
guard had crossed the bridge, and reached the little 
breastwork on the other side of the river. Before this 
was done there was another heavy volley, and several of 
the men sank dying as they crossed the stream, while 
Walton himself gave a start that indicated he had re- 
ceived another wound, and the captain of the battery fell 
down upon the bridge. Coolly striking no less than three 
matches to get a light, under this fusillade that became 
more deadly every moment, Walton deliberately lit the 
port fire that led to the mine ; then shouldering the 
wounded artillery officer, staggered across and took posi- 
tion behind the breastwork to check the Federal advance 
for the last time. Both the batteries of artillery limbered 
up and galloped off after the Confederate infantry. A 
division had been saved — a regiment almost annihilated. 

But all this meant little to Caucus and myself now — we 
looked only at the smoking fuse that would explode the 
bridge under which we were concealed. The black's face 
had become ashen. His chattering teeth said : " Golly, 
when dis blows up, we blows up too ! " The cross-fire 
from the Federals and Confederates made it almost 
certain death to venture on the bridge. Caucus, before I 
knew what he was doing, plunged into the stream, and in 
twenty or thirty vio^orous strokes reached the center pier. 
Up this he climbed, for it was not more than five feet 
high, and, sheltered by the heavy log cribbing from the 



HOW I ESCAPED. I59 

Confederate musketry, deliberately pulled out the lighted 
fuse from the mine. For a moment the South Carolin- 
ians did not notice it, but a second after a cry from 
Walton came across the river. Cursing the black, he 
called to his men to follow him, and firing his revolver at 
Caucus, ran across the bridge. 

The Confederates rose up, but the fire from the 
approaching Federals was too heavy. A few of them fell 
wounded ; the rest dropped again behind the breastwork. 

A dozen strides brought Walton to the center of the 
bridge. He pulled out another fuse, and attached it to 
the powder, this time cutting it off very short. 

His revolver firing had driven Caucus into the river, 
who swam back to me. 

• As the colonel was about to light the fuse, he paused, 
staggered, clapped his hand to his side, reeled and sank 
upon the bridge, the lighted port fire from his hand fall- 
ing sizzing into the river. The Federal advance was 
already at our end of the bridge. 

With a yell of rage for their fallen commander, the 
Carolinians rushed from their breastwork, charged across 
the bridge, and at the center the blue and the gray met. 
Clubbed muskets, bayonets, and even fists were used in 
the struggle. 

Swept back by overwhelming numbers across the 
bridge, the Confederates bore with them the dead body 
of their officer — another hero fallen for that lost cause 
whose banner had already began to droop and whose 
stars began to fade. 

As I gazed at this a wave of blue surged round me. I 
had not come to the Federal- lines — the Federal lines had 
come to me. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

WHERE WAS SHE? 

Being in the Union lines did not seem to improve the 
position of either Caucus or myself. We were seized as 
Confederate prisoners. 

I tried to explain to the colonel in command, but he 



l6o HOW I ESCAPED. 

said : " I have no time to listen to you. Say what you 
have to say at brigade headquarters." Then we were 
started to the rear in a hurry. 

This seemed to astonish Caucus very much. He sidled 
up to me, for we were huddled together with a few Con- 
federate prisoners and stragglers that had been gleaned 
by the Federal troops, and muttered disconsolately : 

" Massa Bryant,why is we always took prisoners ? Don't 
seem to make much diff'rence what side we gits on, we's 
took prisoners anyway ! " 

" Move along there, and keep your wet rags to your- 
self ! " cried one of the guards sharply, as Caucus brushed 
against him with his dripping garments. 

At this the negro looked at him and remarked, plain- 
tively : " Dey always said in South Ca'lina dat if I come 
Norf I'd be treated almighty bad, an' seems to me dey 
was 'bout right. Here I is, come all dis way to freedom 
and darned if you don't treat me worse dan de Rebs. I 
was tole you would 'sider me as a brudder," and looking 
innocently at the man, he set his comrades into shrieks of 
laughter by saying : " Be'ant you an Abolitioner ? " 

" No, you miserable coon — I'm a Democrat ! " very sav- 
agely cried the man who was, by his uniform, from one 
of the Tennessee Union regiments. '' And darn you, if 
you don't shut up, I'll blow the top of your sorrel head 
off!" 

The look of unutterable astonishment and reproach 
with which Caucus gazed upon this unsympathetic boy in 
blue as he tramped along to the rear after this was piti- 
able in the extreme. 

During this walk I meditated that the only way that I 
could be set right immediately was the chance that Lieu- 
tenant Hanson might have escaped. I questioned Caucuu 
as to the fate-of our companions. He said two of them had 
been killed and one wounded by the Confederate pickets. 
By throwing himself in the bottom of the boat, he had 
escaped without a scratch. 

Upon my arrival at the rear I was sent first to brigade 
and then to division headquarters, the general of which, 
as the firing had already died away from the front, had 
time to attend to me. I told him I had just come from 
the battle. 

" Battle ! " echoed he, with a smile. " Guess you 



HOW I ESCAPED. t6l 

haven't been round the army much. That was only a 
reconnoissance in force." 

I inquired of him iT Lieutenant Hanson of the 5th 
Kentucky Cavalry had joined his command. 

After some inquiries among members of the staff, he 
told me that he had. The lieutenant was sent for, and in 
a very few moments his explanations placed me and Cau- 
cus upon the free list. 

Upon giving a detailed account of my adventures to 
the Federal commander, he very kindly furnished trans- 
portation for Caucus and myself to the North. Two days 
after this we were in Nashville, and two more took us to 
my home in Illinois. Here I had a small farm, which, 
during my absence in the South, it being but twenty miles 
from Chicago, had greatly increased in value. At the 
local post-office I inquired anxiously for letters for me. I 
had instructed my wife carefully as to how she should 
address and send letters to me by blockade-runners. I 
had been two months on the journey, which would have 
given ample time for a letter via Nassau to reach me; 
but there was none there. 

I immediately wrote to Laura z'/a Bermuda, and waited 
anxiously for six weeks, but received no reply. 

It was now April of 1864. The blockade-runners were 
often captured or sunk ; the letter service in the Confed- 
eracy was very uncertain. My epistle might have miscar- 
ried. 

Despite the entreaties of my friends in Illinois that I 
would stay with them longer, I determined to go to Nas- 
sau, for my anxiety with regard to Laura had become 
unendurable. 

Taking Caucus, who now seemed to think me bound 
to support him for the remainder of his life, and obtain- 
ing money for the purpose by borrowing a small sum 
upon my farm, I set out for Nassau. 

Arriving there two weeks after my departure from 
Illinois, I forwarded another letter that six weeks after I 
knew must have reached the Confederacy, because the 
blockade-runner came back in safety. I had given the 
letter personally to the captain, who informed me that 
he had placed it in the post-office at Wilmington, North 
Carolina. 

Again I waited anxiously a month. Still no letter. 



l62 HOW I ESCAPED. 

During this time my excitement, agitation and misery 
became greater and greater. I did not dare to visit the 
Confederacy — certain death awaited me there ; yet I could 
hear no news of my wife. My next attempt I made 
in another way. I wrote letters to Judge Peyton, 
Miss Belle, and Laura's brother, as well as another 
epistle to my wife, and one to my friend Stuart Bee, 
and waited another month with no more satisfactory 
result. 

All this time I had tried to make the acquaintance of 
passengers on the blockade-runners coming from South 
Carolina, but the only thing I could learn from them was 
that they thought the Peytons were ail alive, but there 
was some sickness in the family. 

At this information, I began to fear that my wife 
might have expended the small stock of money I had 
left with her on her sick relatives. 1 knew her unself- 
ish disposition. I bought a draft on a local bank at 
Columbia, and forwarded it enclosed in another letter to 
my darling Laura. 

It was now nearly August. At times I wildly thought 
of disguising myself and attempting to enter the Con- 
federacy. I think I should have done something of 
the kind, for my desire to hear of my wife had now 
almost become a mania which was undermining my 
health, taking away my spirits, and shattering my nervous 
system, had not I about this time received a letter from 
Stuart Bee which ran as follows : 

Savannah, Ga., Aug. i, 1864. 

My Dear Bryant : Your letter containing the account of your 
marriage with Miss Peyton, also your extraordinary adventures and 
escape into the Union lines, came to hand only yesterday. I have 
been away from Charleston upon military duty for some time in the 
interior of Georgia, and received it only on my return to Savannah. 
All I can tell you in regard to your wife is, that I know, from 
friends in Columbia, she is alive, but shall write and make particular 
inquiries, and forward to you all details I can learn in regard to the 
young lady you have been so fortunate to win, as soon as they are 
sent to me. 

Hoping you are having a more comfortable time in Nassau than 
you had on Morris Island, I am, 

Yours, sincerely. 

Stuart Bee. 

This letter kept me anxious but quiet in Nassau. 



HOW I ESCAPED, 163 

About the middle of September an additional note came 
from Bee which ran as follows : 

Savannah, Ga., Sept. 4, 1S64. 
My Dear Bryant : I have just received news from Columbia in 
answer to the inquiries I made with regard to your wife. She is 
ahve, but I fear not having a very pleasant time with some of her 
relatives in regard to her marriage with you, and I think from what 
I hear, somewhat of an invalid, though from all I can learn her 
disease is not at all dangerous, and nothing that need to give you any 
immediate alarm. I write you the plain facts of the case as I get 
them. Would have been able to obtain them sooner, but everything 
at present seems to be disorganized in the Confederacy, postal ser- 
vice as well as other things. Don't let this make you anxious enough 
to attempt to visit her, for I assure you if you are caught again in 
this part of the world you will have very little chance of escaping 
this time. 

Yours once more, 

Stuart Bee. 

Whether Bee's warning would have had any effect upon 
me, I do not know. I was becoming desperate, and ready 
to take desperate chances ; in fact, had almost engaged 
my passage on a blockade -runner for the Confederacy, 
when, about the middle of October, I received a letter 
from my old chum Baxter, who held a staff position in 
Sherman's army, and with whom I had opened a corre- 
spondence. His letter was to the point, and read : 

Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 8, 1S64. 
My Dear Bryant : Your various letters to me seem to indicate 
that your anxiety in regard to your wife has become a mania with 
you. I have no doubt that the lady is well, and some of her friends 
may have intercepted the correspondence between you. If you wish 
to see her personally, the best way you can take is to join us. I am 
in a position to know now of a movement that will take this army 
very near to her. I am not at liberty to say more, and you will regard 
this as confidential. Come to Atlanta as soon as possible, and I 
will get you an appointment of some kind that will enable you to 
accompany the army ; but come at once, as very shortly the railroad 
behind us will be cut and communication will be severed between us 
and the outer world. 

Your old friend, 

Thomas Baxter. 

After reading this letter carefully, I canceled my 
agreement for a passage on the blockade-runner, and two 
days afterward saw me on the steamer bound to New 
York. Making a few hurried preparations, I took the rail- 



164 HOW I ESCAPED. 

road for Nashville, and then pushed forward to Atlanta, 
where Hood and Sherman were at present confronting 
each other. 

Here everything seemed to be in preparation for some 
great military movement. The divisions of Sherman's 
army were rapidly filling up; recruits being hastened to the 
front, and men and officers on furlough or leave of absence 
being called in. The train which carried me to Atlanta 
brought a large number of them. 

After some trouble, I found the headquarters of the 
general's staff, and there met my friend Baxter. The 
mutual confidences incidental to the reunion of old chums 
being over, he laughed and said : " Got your carpet-bag 
with you, old boy ? " 

'' To go where ? " I asked, 

" With us to the sea ! You want to find your wife. 
There is only one way of your getting to South Carolina, 
and that is with this army. We will soon cut loose from 
our base, and Heaven knows what will be our next one. 
Now," he continued, " if you want to go with us, you 
have got to become one of us." 

" What ! " I said, " shoulder a musket ? " 

" No, shoulder a staff appointment. Come with me." 

He led me in to the chief of Sherman's staff. 

That officer said, '' Mr. Bryant, Major Baxter tells me 
you are an engineer, and should be very well acquainted 
with most of the Georgia railroads." 

'' Yes," I replied, " I have assisted in building a good 
many of them." 

" Then," he remarked, " you should know how to de- 
stroy them,— their vital places, where the burning of a 
bridge will do the most damage, or the destruction of a 
culvert cause a wash-out of the track. We -expect to 
destroy a great many railroads on this trip, and if you 
wish to accept an appointment on some division or bri- 
gade commander's staff, I will get it for you." 

I replied that that would suit me very well, and two 
days afterward found me acting as extra aide-de-camp to 
Major-General Woods, commanding the first division of 
Logan's Fifteenth Army Corps, temporarily in charge of 
Osterhaus. 

By November 12th, the last locomotive and train of 
cars had steamed out of Atlanta. These gone, we burned 



HOW I ESCAPED. 165 

the railroads leading to the north, to prevent their being 
used by the Confederates. Thus cut off from all sup- 
plies, communication, and reinforcements, we had only 
the power of our sixty thousand veterans to rely on. 
But keep them in bread and meat, and they were the 
kind of men to go anywhere and do anything. On the 
14th, with as little baggage, ammunition, and general 
army stores as it was considered possible for this great 
army to move with, we left Atlanta, marching southward, 
our next base of supplies we hoped to gain being Savan- 
nah, two hundred and odd miles away on the sea. I 
do not intend to give many details of that eventful march. 
I paid very little attention to the military movements 
about me, except so far as obeying my orders, and fulfill- 
ing my duties. But one thought dominated my mind, 
and that was that each mile that army traveled carried 
me a mile nearer to my wife. 

Passing through the rich grain lands of central 
Georgia we lived as Caucus expressed it, " like fightin' 
chickens," my table being bounteously supplied by 
him ; for this creature was now in his element ; bring- 
ing a large youthful experience of water-melon raids and 
turkey-stalks to bear on the subject, as he expressed it, 
'' of fightin' for de grub. " The most expert " bummer " of 
Sherman's army looked with envy upon Caucus and his 
extraordinary contributions to our larder. Sometimes he- 
would come in riding a " borrowed " horse, a turkey and 
goose slung over his shoulder, a sack of grain or potatoes 
on one side, a few strings of dried apples twisted around 
his neck, and driving a fat pig or plump calf ahead of him. 
Passing through these rich plains of central Geor- 
gia, pontooning the rivers, the bridges having been 
destroyed, doing a little skirmishing, and in one or two 
places some hard fighting, and all the time destroying 
the railroads that were as vital to the existence of the 
Confederacy as arteries to the life of man, toward the 
end of November we arrived at the rice lands of Georgia. 
By this time the army consisted of three divisions. Fnst, 
the regular army, disciplined and practiced, that kept 
their ranks, obeyed their orders, and did the fighting. 

Next the bummers, stragglers, and worthless men of all 
corps, who were good— as Caucus expressed it—" only to 
do fightin' for de grub." 



r66 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Then an immense concourse of negroes, who had left 
their homes and followed the army that had brought 
them freedom. These furnished a more serious impedi- 
ment to us, almost, than the Confederates. They ate up 
everything they could put their teeth on, and as the 
army was compelled to depend for its existence upon the 
country through which it passed, if we had had another 
hundred miles to march through the rice swamps of 
Georgia, I doubt if many would have avoided starvation ; 
for the bummers got the best of all foraged provisions, 
the first pick of the barn-yards, and grain -cribs ; the 
enormous gangs of contrabands the rest ; and the army 
who did the fighting had a chance at what was left, 
which, as Caucus remarked, was " de last pick ob de 
bone ! " 

However, in December we arrived in sight of the sea, 
and on the 13th, Fort McAllister having been captured 
by assault, we were in communication with the Federal 
fleet. A few days afterward we entered Savannah, which 
was evacuated by the Confederates under Hardee. But 
here disappointment and delay awaited me. Sherman, 
to complete his arrangements, reorganize his army, and 
obtain fresh supplies and ammunition, remained over a 
month in Savannah. 

Every day I had marched, I had said, "■ So many 
miles nearer to Laura." 

Fancy my impatience ! 

During this time, I made all the inquiries I could in 
Savannah in regard to the Peytons, but could learn noth- 
ing new. The old Confederate inhabitants had nearly 
all left the town, and those who remained had but little 
to tell me. However, I heard frequently of Mr. Amos 
Pierson. Unable to obtain the money due him from the 
Confederate Government in any other shape, he had 
received a large amount of cotton in payment of his 
claims, preferring that bulky but valuable merchandise to 
Confederate money that was now almost worthless. Most 
of this cotton had been shipped into South Carolina before 
the approach of Sherman's army, and stored at Colum- 
bia. I had no doubt that Mr. Pierson would be near his 
merchandise, and consequently near my wife. This 
made me more anxious than ever to be by her side. 

But about January fifteenth Sherman made his prep- 



HOW I ESCAPED. l6f 

aratfons to leave Savannali for his campaign in South 
Carolina. The army had been "fighting light " when we 
left Atlanta, but now it might be called "flying light." 
Only the absolute necessities for the campaign were per- 
mitted us. The wounded, sick, and non-competent of 
every class were left behind. 

On the seventeenth this movement really began, but it 
was delayed by tremendous rains that flooded the swamps 
in the vicinity of Savannah until January thirtieth, when 
the columns were fully in motion. 

In Georgia we had destroyed railroads ; during the 
march through South Carolina we built roads. Day 
after day I directed companies of men laying down 
corduroys over swamps and floating pontoons across 
rivers. Some idea of the herculean labor of the engineer 
corps of the army may be formed from the fact that we 
bridged the Salkehatchie River, which has fifteen dif- 
ferent channels, between sunrise^and sunset. Thus fight- 
ing battles and building bridges, we struggled through 
the swamps and morasses, and on the sixteenth day of 
Februar}^ 1865, looking across the Saluda River, saw the 
beautiful capital of South Carolina. While assisting in 
our preparations to bridge the river I could almost see 
Judge Peyton's home, and fondly imagined I saw the 
form of my beloved wife, whose face I had longed for 
but never seen for fourteen months. 

Next morning in spite of considerable opposition from 
detachments of Confederate troops, the Fifteenth Corps 
succeeded in laying pontoons and crossing the river. 
Then skirmishingbegan. for the advance guard of Woods' 
Division, and was followed up by additional brigades 
being put in action, and the Confederates being driven 
over two miles. From their last position they retreated, 
and the mayor of Columbia with a number of the leading 
citizens came out to surrender the place to us. While 
negotiations for this were going on, Caucus, who proba- 
bly knew the hen roosts of the neighborhood very well, 
had been out on a foraging expedition in the company 
of several more of the same kidney. About two o'clock 
he came riding in on horseback in a tremendous state of 
excitement, and coming to me cried: "Golly, Massa 
Bryant, if you want to save Judge Peyton's house you 
come along right smart." 



1 68 HOW I ESCAPED. 

" What do you mean ? " said I. 

" Dat swearin' colonel of Kilpatrick's Cavalry what 
brags dat he leaves only de chimneys and neber de 
houses, has gone up Judge Peyton's way, an' if you want 
to take care ob your wife's family you had better go 
quick." 

The negro seemed very much excited and grieved to 
think of the fate that might come to his old master. 
I hardly noted this, however, for I rode at once to 
Division Headquarters. General Woods was seated on 
his horse. 

I said : " General, can I have leave of absence for the 
day and also use a company of infantry ? " 

He looked at me inquiringly, as I had never made any 
such request before, and replied : "What for ?" 

" To protect my wdfe ! " 

At this the General nearly fell off his horse in astonish- 
ment, and gasped : "Your wife a South Carolinian, who 
lives here ? You must be a South Carolina Unionist; 
By George ! I should think you did deserve protection. " 

Explaining to him the peculiar relations I bore to Judge 
Peyton's family, he wrote an order directing a company 
of Stone's brigade to go with me. 

As they filed off the captain remarked, for he had been 
placed under my orders for this expedition : " What do 
you want us for ? Do you know of any treasure hid in 
the neighborhood ? ' 

I explained to him my errand. He then said : " That's 
right, I've got a wife myself in Iowa. Boys, we'll follow 
him lively ! " and gave his men the order to " double 
quick." 

Guided by Caucus, we took a short cut. I had already 
had the protection signed by the division commander for 
Judge Peyton and his family. 

Though we moved rapidly, we were not too soon. 

Riding up the broad avenue of oaks, every tree of 
which reminded me of the beautiful girl I had left behind 
me, my heart bounding with exultation and hope, I 
galloped up to the house and found it in possession of 
the Federal soldiers. 

Not heeding the marauders that were swarming over 
the rooms I remembered so well, I only thought of find- 
ing Laura or some one who could tell me of her. 



HOW I ESCAPED. 169 

The negro servants had all fled from the house but one 
that Caucus brought in from tiie garden, knew him and 
was not afraid of him. In answer to our questions she 
said Judge Peyton's family fearing what was now taking 
place, had gone into Columbia for protection that after- 
noon just before the cavalry rode up. 

I asked if they were all well. 

" Yes, Massa, all well." 

This brought from me a sigh of relief and a " Thank 
God ! " 

There was nothing now for me to do but to save the 
Judge's property, which I did with considerable trouble. 
Even after showing the protection signed by General 
Wood, one of the cavalry remarked : *' Yes, that is to 
protect Judge Peyton's property, but these 'ere goods is 
now our property." 

Had it not been for the captain of infantry, who swore 
the cavalry should obey orders, if he had to shoot every 
one of them, the troopers would have left very little of 
Judge Peyton's house. 

All this took considerable time, and it was nearly five 
o'clock in the afternoon when I succeeded in making the 
proper arrangements. The captain of infantry left a 
sergeant and a squad to guard the house over night. 
Then I turned into the main road to Columbia. 

Not wishing to travel entirely alone, as skirmishers 
and Confederate cavalry might be about, I was compelled 
to take the time that the tired infantry could march in, 
and it was becoming dusk when we reached Columbia. 

The city we could see was already occupied by Federal 
troops; the flag of the Union flying from the State House. 

The main street was now full of large quantities of cot- 
ton and other articles, dry goods, merchandise, etc., which 
had been taken out ready to be placed on trains to follow 
the Confederates ; this our rapid advance had prevented. 
The owner of the cotton I incidentally learned was my 
friend, Amos Pierson. This would doubtless be confis- 
cated, and Mr. Pierson shorn of a great deal of his power 
and wealth. I was compelled to go to division head- 
quarters to make my report. Here, to my astonishment, 
I heard that Amos Pierson, on the entry of our troops, 
had taken the oath of allegiance to the Federal Govern- 
ment, and claimed his cotton as a non-combatant. 



170 HOW I ESCAPED. 

Long before this I had dispatched Caucus to try and 
find out where Judge Peyton had taken his family. 

My report being made, I was now free to seek my wife 
myself. In a fever of excitement I went to the houses 
at which I thought it likely she would be. Elbowing my 
way through streets full of excited boys in blue, who had 
unfortunately, either by design or accident, obtained a 
large amount of Confederate whisky, which had excited 
them still more, I sought my wife without success. 
vSome of the people I called on had left the town ; the 
others had not seen the Peytons, and were too nervous 
about their own affairs to care much for those of any one 
else. 

All this time with cheers and cries the soldiers paraded 
the streets in squads— even a strong provost-guard having 
but little control over them, the citizens looking at them, 
some with scowls and a few with joy on their faces from 
the surrounding houses and gardens. I went back to 
headquarters to wait impatiently for Caucus to report 
where I could find my wife, for without some definite 
knowledge I might have wandered for days — perhaps 
weeks — in that motley throng, and never have seen her ; 
for no ladies were walking the streets of Columbia that 
night. 

While doing this I was surprised and astonished to hear 
a very violent commotion. Looking out of the window I 
saw a faint glow down the main street. This gradually 
became larger and larger, and the accompanying noise 
louder and more violent. Hurrying out, I, to my horror, 
saw a portion of the city was in conflagration. A 
very heavy wind added to its violence, w^hile drunken 
soldiers, bummers and camp followers crazy with drink, 
spread the flames. A sudden fear darted through me. 
What, in a burning town full of drunken soldiers, in the 
dead of the night, would be the fate of my wife ? I must 
find her now ! 

The flames roared more fiercely than ever, the public 
buildings catching fire. Down the main street immense 
piles of cotton became each a huge bonfire, the wind car- 
ried the flaming flakes for blocks around, spreading the fire 
over a large portion of the city. Inaction was impossible 
to me. I was about to run blindly seeking her, when 
Caucus came panting to headquarters. 



HOW I ESCAPED. lyi 

" Where is she ? " I cried, 

" Don't know sah ! But tink Miss Laura's at Colonel 
Pickens. Nancy Jackson said dat dey was 'spected 
dar ! " 

I was already running in that direction, for the Pickens 
mansion was in almost the center of the burning district J 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE LITTLE HOSTAGE. 

Following Caucus through the streets of the city, 
wildly jostling drunken soldiers and citizens trying to 
save their household goods, we plunged into the burning 
portion of the town, and arrived at the Pickens mansion. 
This, being surrounded by a garden, I had hoped might 
have escaped, but it was also in flames. The family had 
fled from it, taking with them what possessions they 
could carry. 

Inquiring of some negroes who were trying to save 
their household goods, they hurriedly told me that the 
Peytons had been there, but being driven out by the 
flames, had left about half an hour before. I asked 
which way. They pointed along another street, but 
gave little attention to me ; they were too busy trying to 
save a little of their possessions from the wreck. Fight- 
ing my way through the throng with one idea — to find 
my wife and aid her — I was suddenly arrested by a crowd 
even more dense than that through which I had passed. 

At this moment Caucus stopped and cried out, " Golly ! 
Look at dat chile ! " 

"What do you mean? "said I. '"Come along and 
help me find my wife." 

As I uttered this, my attention was arrested by a 
shriek that apparently came from above me. Looking 
through the trees of a small garden, I perceived a house 
which was rapidly becoming a mass of flames. 

At one of the upper windows of this a mulatto servant 
girl, holding in one arm a child, apparently white, was ges- 
ticulating wildly with the other and calling for assistance. 
My wife was probably safe^ while this girl and her child 



172 HOW I ESCAPED. 

were in mortal danger. For a moment I hesitated ; 
tiien dashed into the garden to save them. 

I had had some experience in my youth as a member 
of a volunteer fire company, and calling to Caucus to 
follow me, I pushed through the crowd up to the house. 
No one was in the yard but negroes, and they were so 
panic-stricken that they had lost their wits, and though 
yelling and howling like madmen, were doing nothing 
to aid this woman in her extremity. With a ladder 
I could have rescued her easily, but there seemed to 
be none at hand. Bolting into the house, I tried the 
stairway, but it was burning and impossible to ascend. 
As I did so, the girl screamed and groaned, probably 
merely from terror, as the flames had not yet reached 
her, though this would be but a matter of a very few 
moments. 

As I ran around the building trying to find a ladder 
by which to reach the upper windows, I caught sight 
of a tree at the other end of the house. The branches 
of this overhung the burning dwelling. Being a live 
oak, and green, this had not caught fire. If I could 
descend from its branches to the house I might save her. 
Looking around for a rope, my eye caught sight of the 
garden hose that had been used against the flames and 
then deserted. This I took, and Caucus, who was an 
expert climber, joining me, we both had little difficulty 
in reaching a branch of the tree immediately over the 
house. 

Using the hose as a rope, I descended onto the roof 
of the veranda just in time, and breaking open one of 
the windows, sprang into the room, which was now full of 
suffocating smoke. Seizing the child from the almost 
fainting girl, I carried it to the roof and passed it up to 
Caucus as he reached down from the limb of the tree. 

The rescue of the mulatto girl was more difficult. She 
seemed to have lost entirely the use of her limbs from ter- 
ror, but the roaring of the flames made me think quickly, 
and knotting the hose about her I climbed up it again to 
the tree. Then Caucus and I, using this hose as a rope, 
succeeded in swinging her off the veranda, and lowering 
her to the ground below. Unfortunately the hose, which 
was rotten, broke ; and the girl's descent, for tiie last few 
feet, was very rapid. 



HOW I ESCAPED. I73 

As we did this, a low moan or scream came from the 
street in front of the house, apparently from a woman. 

The little baby, I could now see by the red glow of the 
fire, was white. The mulatto girl was probably its nurse. 
Holding the little infant tenderly in my arms, I descended 
the tree carefully but rapidly, as the flames were making 
my perch very warm and uncomfortable. As I did so, 
the child, which had been asleep, opened its arms and 
gave a little crow. 

Caucus having gotten the girl on her feet, she recog- 
nized and spoke to him, and the negro ran frantically 
out to the street, before I had descended. A minute 
after he returned, his eyes rolling, his teeth jabbering with 
excitement, crying : 

" Sah, dar's a lady in de street what would like to tank 
you for savin' her baby." 

" Take the child to her," replied I, and was about to 
hand it to him. " Then come with me. My wife again 
demands every effort of mine." 

" But, sah, de lady 'sists on seein' you." 

With this he ran along, clapped his hands and crowed, 
then came back to me and chuckled, " Golly, don't em 
look like em daddy ! "and jabbered and poked the infant 
under the chin until I thought he had gone crazy. 

But at this moment, an old gentleman, whose face by 
the light of the burning buildings made me start, came 
rapidly up to me, seized me by the hand and said, " Though 
you wear the uniform of the United States, let me thank 
you for what you have done for my family. My daugh- 
ter here desires to thank you and bless you for saving 
her child." 

" Yes, and I thank him, too," cried a girlish voice that 
seemed familiar, "though he is a Yankee," 

I gave a stare. Miss Belle was standing near me. 
The other lady, the mother of the child, was murmuring 
blessings on my head, extending her hands to take her 
baby from me, but as she did so I gave a cry of startled 
joy. 

Her eyes, bent down upon her infant to see that it was 
entirely safe, at this were lifted to mine. She gave a 
stifled shriek, " Lawrence ! " and fell fainting, but I caught 
her to my heart as there thrilled through me a wave of 
ineffable tenderness and supreme joy, for something sang 



174 HOW I ESCAPED. 

in my brain that I had my wife and my child in my arms 
at the same moment. 

As for the rest of them, they stared hke crazy people. 
The Judge faltered, " Great heavens ! " while Miss Belle 
cried out, *' Her husband ! " and seemed almost as much 
overcome as her sister, though she did not come to me 
and take my hand as she had been about to, when Laura 
recognized me. 

The Judge, after a moment, said suddenly : " Law- 
rence, you came just in time. Get your wife and child 
away from here ; then I'll talk to you." 

This we did, the Judge explaining to me the accident 
by which my little baby had been endangered. Driven 
away by the flames from the Pickens house, my wife, not 
having the strength to support the child herself, had taken 
a mulatto girl to carry it. This girl, in the struggling 
crowd, had got lost, though Laura ran about the streets 
like a mad woman trying to find her. Being frightened, 
the girl had taken refuge from some drunken soldiers, 
and gone up in the second story of the house, which was 
deserted by its owners, to be further away from the brutes, 
mad with whisky, who were following her. In her terror 
she had not discovered that the house was burning, until 
too late to escape by the stairs. 

While the Judge was telling me this, Laura had partly 
regained her senses, and clung to me in that nervous, 
appealing tanner which shows a man that a wife knows 
her husband is by her side. 

We had now got out of the immediate vicinit}^ of the 
fire, and I told the Judge of having saved his home from 
the marauding cavalry. 

Obtaining a pass and escort from headquarters, and 
Caucus procuring an old wagon and pair of army mules, 
about twelve o'clock at night we all returned once more 
to the Oaks. 

During this time Miss Belle had not said one word to 
me, although she looked at me very often, and some- 
times her glance seemed to me to be that of shame, which 
was very unusual in this young lady, as she was not 
accustom.ed to begging anybody's pardon under any 
circumstances. However, I was too busy to think of 
Belle. I had my child and my wife, who told me in a 
few hurried words that anxiety for my safety had made 



HOW I ESCAPED, I75 

her sick. That her brother and father, after learning of 
her marriage, had always been kind to her, but that Miss 
Belle for six or seven months had never spoken to her, and 
had only become reconciled to her when her approaching 
motherhood had made her very feeble. " But then, Law- 
rence, Belle became an angel ! " murmured Laura, " and 
nursed me like the kind sister she had always been be- 
fore. She will forgive you, Lawrence, in time. You 
saved the baby, and Belle adores it, and that will make 
her tender to you some day." 

The next morning I rode in to division headquarters, 
and after telling the general my story, he laughed and 
said : " After such a separation, you had better remain 
with your wife." 

" That is impossible," I returned. *' In a day or two 
the army leaves here, and I have got to go with it to the 
front." 

" Not at all," he replied. "We must leave a garrison in 
this place, and I think I can get you detailed for that 
duty. You have been away from your wife for a long 
time, and you may as well remain as somebody who has 
no ties in Columbia. Besides, you are acquainted with 
the inhabitants here ; they knew you before the war, and 
General Sherman wishes to establish a good feeling 
between the troops in garrison and the people in the 
place. This fire has probably made them very bitter 
toward him, though we consider that it was not our doing, 
as the disaster began by the burning cotton, which was 
fired by the Confederate cavalry to prevent it from falling 
into our hands. As to the loss of the cotton, I am not at 
all sorry for it. It belonged to Amos Pierson, and the 
miserable turncoat took the oath of allegiance the first 
man in Columbia." 

Two days afterward the bulk of Sherman's army 
marched out toward North Carolina, to make the clos- 
ing campaign of the war. News came back from it day 
by day of its further advance and further success. 

The loss of his cotton, however, made Mr. Amos Pier- 
son a very poor man. 

A few days afterward I had reason to know of this, 
because the old Judge called me into his study and 
asked my advice. 

He said : " Mr. Bryant — or rather, Lawrence — you are 



176 HOW I ESCAPED. 

now one of my family ; the only male member of it 
that I can speak to on this matter. My son is away in 
the Confederate army in North Carolina, and as for the 
girls, they have no head for business. Two years ago I 
was compelled to mortgage this place, for the necessities 
of my family, to Mr, Amos Pierson for twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars. The note falls due to-morrow, and he 
demands payment of the same." 

Twenty-five thousand dollars seemed to me a big sum 
for a moment, but when I reflected that it was in Con- 
federate money, it almost dwindled to nothing when re- 
solved into greenbacks. 

I looked over the note, and found that it was a specific 
contract to pay twenty-five thousand dollars in the " law- 
ful money of the Confederate States of America," and 
secured by a mortgage upon "The Oaks." 

At this I gave a laugh, and said : " I will attend to this 
matter. It is not difficult to obtain twenty-five thousand 
dollars in Confederate money now. This fifty-dollar 
United States bill, I think, will cover your mortgage. 
The Confederate States are still a government de facto, 
and this is a specific contract. If you will come with 
me, we will make the tender in due form." 

The next day accompanied by Caucus, who wheeled 
twenty-five thousand dollars in Confederate shinplasters 
alongside of us in a wheelbarrow, we went into Columbia, 
and going into Mr, Pierson's office, for the second time 
in my life, I saw the gentleman who had given me a great 
deal of trouble. 

He was looking very miserable, for the war had dealt 
very hardly with him, and the loss of his cotton seemed to 
be almost the finishing blow. He smiled, however, upon 
our entrance, and was quite pleased to receive the money 
that Judge Peyton owed him. But on my tendering it to 
him in Confederate currency, he literally gave a shriek, 
and demanded bills of the United States of America as 
being the only legal tender then due. 

Upon my explaining to him the specific nature of the 
contract, and making tender for same, and calling in 
several citizens and a notary public to witness this same 
tender, and sealing the Confederate shinplasters up in his 
presence, having counted them, he became abusive. 
"You ex-convict!" he cried, "didn't I put you oc 



HOW I ESCAPED. T77 

Morris Island in a striped dress ? I'll put you in a striped 
dress again,— a very different uniform from the fancy 
blue you now wear ! — the accursed uniform that has 
ruined me ! " 

At this, Morris Island and all my wrongs at his hands 
rose up in me. I forgot myself, and after hammering 
Mr. Pierson in a way that made Caucus cheer with joy, I 
kicked him out of his own office, and never felt happier 
in my life than at the day's work I had done. 

This tender of Confederate money of course brought 
on litigation that has not been ended to this day, — the 
Judge holding on to his homestead. Mr. Pierson still has 
twenty-five thousand dollars in Confederate money sealed 
up awaiting his order. 

During these few weeks Miss Belle never spoke to me. 
Sometimes as I passed her she would give a little shud- 
der and shrink away, not with horror or loathing, but 
rather it seemed to me with shame. 

I had questioned my wife with regard to the numerous 
letters and draft I sent her. To my astonishment she 
said: "I never received a line from you, Lawrence, but 
have written you many, many times. This has had as 
much to do with my illness as anything else — my anxiety 
for you, and my fear that you might be dead, for I felt 
sure you would write me if you were alive." 

I explained to her the various methods I had taken 
to communicate with her, and she seemed very much 
astounded. 

" Surely," she cried, "■ some one of them must have 
reached me. Some letter from me should certainly have 
found you. And the draft ! What can have become of 
that ? " 

I inquired at the bank in Columbia upon which I had 
received the exchange, and found that though they had 
advices of same, no such draft had yet been presented. 

I held several conversations with my wife with regard 
to this, but we were never able to fathom it. I spoke to 
the Judge, — he knew nothing about it. 

" I'll speak to Belle about it. She's had full charge of 
the household while I have been sick," said Laura. 

But I remarked, '' Better let the matter drop." Whether 
it was something in my manner gave my wife a suspicion 
I know not ; but she burst out at me : " You don't think 



178 HOW I ESCAPED. 

my sister would do such a thing ? You don't think my 
sister would be mean enough to withhold a husband's 
letters from his wife, or a wifes from her husband ? " 

" No," I said, " I don't. I don't care what has 
happened to the letters, Laura, since I have you and our 
child now, and that is enough for me ! " 

Whether Belle overheard this conversation or not I do 
not know, but I was sitting out in the grounds the next 
morning when that young lady came to me. Her face 
Avas very red, and her hands trembled. 

I said, " Good-morning, Belle," as I always addressed 
her though she had never yet spoken to me. 

Then she cried out : " How can you treat me so well, 
when I used to hate you so ? " 

" Used to ? " I said. 

" Yes," she replied. " But I have forgiven you since 
you saved the baby — my dear little nephew." 

'' Oh," I laughed, " Belle, I don't think you ever hated 
me very much." 

" Didn't I ? " she cried. *' Look at these ! These 
will tell you how I hated you, and how much I am 
ashamed of myself." 

Then the girl burst out sobbing as she dropped a 
packet of letters into my hand. They were those from 
my wife to me and those I had written to her, all of them 
unopened. 

" Now," she muttered, " I want to speak to you if you 
can ever forgive me. I want to ask one favor whether you 
forgive me or not. In my hate for you and my rage at my 
sister having married one of our enemies, I have done 
something that will make my sister despise me ; perhaps 
also my father and brother. They are noble ; they do 
not sneak about and steal letters as I did, and watch for 
them. Now 1 want to keep my sister's love. If you 
tell her, I am afraid I will lose it. You are a Northern 
man, and your side has conquered. You have every- 
tliing — have pity also. Leave me my sister's love." 
And she commenced to sob more bitterly than ever. 

" Miss Belle," I said, " why don't you ask for a 
brother's love?" 

'' Your love ? " she gasped. 

" Yes," I said, and put my hand upon hers, but as 
I did so she cau'jhi: sight of my blue uniform, and cried 



HOW I ESCAPED. I79 

** Not yet ! " Then after a pause the girl continued ; 
" You have been very noble to me, and perhaps it will 
come in time. If the North is as noble and magnanimous 
as you are to me, perhaps the North and South may yet 
be brother and sister," and ran away from me. 

But every day after this she became more friendly, and 
when her brother came home after Johnston's surrender, 
even his empty sleeve did not make her take her hand 
off my shoulder as we all, from the piazza, watched him 
ride up the avenue of oaks to be clasped in his father's 
arms. 

Soon after this my gallant friend Bee, who had done so 
much to bring Laura and me together, on his way to 
Georgia from Lee's surrendered army stopped to spend 
a few days with us. He was going back to a ruined 
plantation, a deserted home and a wrecked fortune, but 
he was the same gallant de'bonnaire Georgian as ever, 
and he laughed and said, as he bade us good-by : " Per- 
haps when I get a home and something to eat in Georgia, 
I may come back to see you again, I presume by that 
time I will need a wife." 

Here he looked at Miss Belle, who blushed very deeply 
and went silently into the house. 

So we began our life over again. There were plenty 
of railroads to rebuild in the South, and the value of my 
farm in Illinois made me quite rich at that time and in 
that region of country. 

And while doing so the stragglers from the Confederate 
army gradually dropped into their old places one by 
one — those that were left of them. Then one day my 
wife said to me as we sat on the old porch of " The 
Oaks," the Judge smoking a Havana cigar now, instead 
of his old corncob, and Caucus at the other end of the 
veranda chuckling to our little boy, who was crowing at 
him in the arms of Miss Belle, " Most of our soldiers 
are home now, but Major Harry Walton has never re- 
turned, and I have not heard of him for nearly a year. 
Can he be one of the dead ? " 

On this, I told my wife the story of her letter ; how 
it had saved my life ; how Walton had loved her too 
much to make her a widow, and had died fighting for the 
cause he loved and believed in, as so many more Southern 
gentlemen did in those four years of war. And as my 



l8o HOW I ESCAPED, 

words disclosed to Laura the unselfish love of the dead 
Confederate for her, and what it had done for me, she 
clung to me and murmured : 

" Lawrence, we have not christened our boy yet. Let 
us call him by the name of the man who gave his father 
life while he found death. Let us call him Harry 
Walton Bryant." 



FINIS. 



OPTNIONS OP 

THE GREAT NOVEL, 

Mr. Barnes 

of New York. 

ENGLAND. 

"There is no reason for surprise at 'Mr. Barnes' 
being a big hit'' — Tfu Referee^ London, March 25th. 

''^Exciting and interesting T — The Graphic. 



li ( 



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OPINIONS OF 

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of New York, 



ENGLAND. 

** There is no reason for surprise at 'Mr. Barnes* 
being a big hit." — The Referee^ London, March 25th. 

''^Exciting and interesting." — The Graphic. 

" 'Marina Paoli' — a giant character — just as strong 
as ' Fedora.' " — Ilhcstrated Londoji News. 

"A capital story — most people have read it — I 
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AMERICA. 

"Told with the genius of Alexander Dumas, the 
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